11M eggs destroyed: Health types in Israel warn of Salmonella threat

Baltimore Jewish Life, one of my must-reads in the tub, reports the Israeli Health Ministry has called on the general public not to buy “Yesh Maohf” eggs with a ‘last date of sale’ of 20 October. Officials are also calling on the tzibur at large to destroy 11 million eggs.

 Officials do not want the eggs returned, for this will spread the infection. Consumers are instructed to take the loss and destroy eggs.

The Ministries of Health and Agriculture emphasize that it is forbidden to consume eggs that have already been purchased and that they must be destroyed by throwing them into the garbage can.

ProMed followed up on this, and was provided with a report from Israeli health types:

The Israeli Ministry of Health is investigating a recent increase in laboratory notifications of _Salmonella enterica_ serovar Enteritidis infections. During May-July 2017 at least 848 patients infected with _S._ Enteritidis were reported, compared with 294 cases in the same period in 2016 (2.9-fold increase). During this period _S._ Enteritidis accounted for 58 percent of salmonellosis cases in Israel which marks a major increase in this serovar. Salmonellosis cases were reported nationwide, with case clusters reported mainly from the Jerusalem and the Southern districts. About 2 percent of cases involved invasive infection.

Several outbreak clusters were reported and investigated during this period in kindergartens, hostels, and restaurants across the country. Epidemiology, trace back, and laboratory data have linked several of the outbreak clusters to eggs with hen farms and egg distributors identified as possible sources. PFGE [pulsed-field gel electrophoresis] analysis of isolates from most reported clusters revealed a shared pulsotype. Further analysis by whole genome sequencing and whole genome MLST (wgMLST) [whole genome multi locus sequence typing] identified several sub-clones. Of particular interest is the identification of a clone from geographically distinct salmonellosis clusters that were temporally linked with a common egg distributor (“Yesh Maof”). This clone has also been detected in the context of a kindergarten outbreak in Southern Israel in 2016. Notably, several disease clusters are associated with _S._ Enteritidis strains belonging to the same pulsotype but accounting for distantly related WGS-types [whole-genome-sequencing types]. Laboratory investigation is still ongoing. It is noteworthy that there have not been any reports of _S._ Enteritidis in any foodstuffs routinely inspected for _Salmonella_ in Israel during the respective period.

An outbreak control team has been set up by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture. Joint trace back and trace forward investigations are being carried out in order to identify the source of infection. The Ministry of Agriculture has recently inaugurated a monitoring program for _S._ Enteritidis control in laying hen farms.

In the context of this investigation, enhanced environmental sampling of traced laying hen flocks and farms is being carried out. These activities have led to the detection of _S._ Enteritidis in flocks supplying the above-mentioned distributor and a subsequent egg recall and planned culling of implicated flocks. Additional public health actions include continued risk management and source control in farms or flocks that will be implicated in human infection and/or found to be contaminated, enhanced epidemiological investigations for salmonellosis cases or case clusters of gastrointestinal infection, intensified inspections by the National Food Service and risk communication to the public, with emphasis on the safe handling and consumption of eggs and egg-containing foods.