One of 107 confirmed victims of the recent salmonella outbreak in Australia, 71-year-old Norma Kent, swears she will never eat a Berliner bun again.
Having previously survived a heart attack, she says the food poisoning – which included a week in Wakefield Hospital on an intravenous drip – was "far worse" than her heart scare.
"This is the worst illness I have ever experienced," she said.
"I didn’t know what was wrong with me, it was like my insides were falling out … my body felt like it was exploding."
Mrs Kent said she ate the Berliner bun on January 19 and became ill the next morning while at Glenelg beach with her husband and two grandchildren.
She was violently ill for the next four days suffering severe diarrhoea, nausea and severe headaches. When she went to her doctor on the fifth day, she was immediately admitted to Wakefield Hospital and treated for dehydration.
A South Australia Health spokeswoman yesterday said another 10 cases of salmonella poisoning were reported over the past week, bringing the total in the past five weeks to 107. Investigations were continuing to determine if all victims had consumed custard-filled products from either bakery.
The food poisoning outbreak, the largest since the Nippy’s outbreak in 1999 which hit more than 400 people, will soon enter the legal arena with around 30 of the victims engaging lawyers to launch a class action against the two companies.
Tindal Gask Bentley partner Tim White said only the more serious cases were involved in the proposed class action.
The number of people testing positive to salmonella linked to custard-filled cakes has risen to 97.
Vili’s custard berliners and St George Cakes and Gelati custard eclairs and cannolis were withdrawn from sale on February 4, after SA Health established they were the common link in the reported cases.
SA Health’s director of public health Dr Kevin Buckett said an extensive investigation was yet to identify a common source.
"All of the environmental and product samples from both manufacturing plants have had negative results for salmonella contamination," Dr Buckett said. "We will continue to work with both companies prior to the products returning to the shelves."
Tindall Gask Bentley partner Tim White said the personal injury firm had received more than 30 calls since it placed an advertisement urging victims to come forward to find out their legal and possible compensation options.
"This significantly increases the likelihood of a class action," Mr White said.
Traducido por Gonzalo Erdozain
Resumen del folleto informativo mas reciente:
– Debido a que los huevos crudos pueden contener Salmonella, use huevos pasteurizados cuando vaya a cocinar algo que requiera huevos crudos.
– Limpie y desinfecte los utensilios entre uso para prevenir la contaminación cruzada.
– Sepa que productos contienen huevos crudos y manténgalos refrigerados para prevenir el crecimiento de Salmonella.
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Someone finally asked, and when South Australia Health said a lot of people were sick from salmonella in custard, it really was a lot.
ABC news (that’s Australian not American) reports at least 60 people have fallen ill, nearly half of them needing to be admitted to hospital.
SA Health’s investigation has linked the infections to Vili’s custard-filled berliner buns and St George Cakes and Gelati’s custard-filled cannolis and eclairs in Adelaide.
Kevin Buckett from SA Health says they expect more test results later in the week, adding,
"We’re continuing to interview the 60 or so people that were notified to us last week and obviously the more we interview the better chance we have to get a good track on what common foods people have eaten."
Different Australian states seem to have decidedly different ways for informing the public about food-related risks.
South Australia Health says there’s been a large increase in cases of Salmonella Typhimurium phage type 9 over the past week, but it won’t provide any numbers.
SA Health’s investigation into the potential causes for this increase has associated Vili’s custard-filled berliners and St George Cakes & Gelati’s custard filled cannolis and éclairs with the Salmonella infection.
SA Health’s Public Health Director, Dr Kevin Buckett, said, “Both companies are co-operating fully with SA Health and are working with the department to ensure that all of these custard items are removed from supermarket and store shelves. They have also both voluntarily stopped making these items until any potential source of contamination has been remedied and the product is safe. Extensive testing of ingredients and equipment at both premises has not yet identified a source of contamination.
The SA Health statement also says, “Only these three custard-filled items, Vili’s berliners and St George Cakes and Gelati cannolis and éclairs, have been linked to the infection and there has been no evidence to suspect that any other Vili’s or St George Cakes & Gelati’s products are a risk.”
The statement does not say whether the facilities have been closed or if the two businesses are still making other products, which is odd since the source of the salmonella has not been determined.
So, SA Health, how many people are sick? How did this outbreak get detected? Do these two businesses use the same supplier?