34 sick from Salmonella in backyard eggs, Poland, 2011

While Sorenne and I were up watching football at 3:30 a.m. local time (recovering from all the barfing yesterday), she was browsing through this week’s edition of Eurosurveillance and thought this abstract about backyard eggs and Salmonella would be of interest.

One of her teachers at school has chickens and ducks and provides me with eggs, and I provide her with cooked things.

But as I always explain to my 3-year-old sous chef, there are certain precautions to take with raw eggs, not just the undercooking but the cross-contamination, regardless of where they originate.

Abstract below:

Implementation of control measures in line with European Commission regulations has led to a decrease in salmonellosis in the European Union since 2004. However, control programmes do not address laying hens whose eggs are produced for personal consumption or local sale. This article reports an investigation of a salmonellosis outbreak linked to home-produced eggs following a family event held in a farm in September 2011 near Warsaw, Poland. In the outbreak, 34 people developed gastroenteritis symptoms. Results from a cohort study indicated a cake, prepared from raw home-produced eggs, as the vehicle of the outbreak.

Laboratory analysis identified Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) in stool samples or rectal swabs from 18 of 24 people and in two egg samples. As no food items remained, we used phage typing to link the source of the outbreak with the isolated strains. Seven S. Enteritidis strains analysed (five from attendees and two from eggs) were phage type 21c. Our findings resulted in culling of the infected laying hens and symptomatic pigeons housed next to the hens. Salmonella poses as a public health problem in Poland: control measures should not forget home-produced eggs, as there is a risk of infection from their consumption.