Salmonella outbreak prompts recall of 206 million eggs

Three eggs
Three eggs

Brenda Gottsabend / Flickr cc

Based on a federal and state investigation into Salmonella infections in several states, an Indiana company on Apr 13 recalled 206 million eggs distributed in nine states that may be contaminated, marking the first large-scale egg recall since 2010.

The eggs were distributed from a farm in Hyde County, N.C., according to a recall notice from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA said the voluntary recall is the result of 22 illnesses reported in East Coast states, which led to extensive interviews and an inspection of the Hyde County farm. The outbreak involves the Salmonella Braenderup subtype. Federal and state officials have been investigating the outbreak since early March.

CDC: 23 cases, 6 hospitalizations

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today said it has received reports of 23 illnesses from the nine states: Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Six people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

Illness onsets range from Nov 16, 2017, to Mar 22. Patient ages range from 5 to 90 years old, and 55% of patients are male.

Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) on samples from patients show that the isolates are closely related, hinting at a common source, the CDC said. And WGS analysis didn't predict antibiotic resistance in samples from 14 patients, but further testing by the CDC's National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System is under way.

The case-control study found that all 17 patients interviewed ate eggs the week before they got sick, which the CDC said is significantly higher than the 38% of healthy people who ate eggs in the week before they were interviewed. Eleven of the sick patients had eaten various egg dishes at different restaurants.

Recall details, FDA findings

The FDA recall notice said the Hyde County farm has 3 million laying hens that produce 2.3 million eggs a day, with a US Department of Agriculture inspector on site.

The eggs are sold under a host of brand names, including Coburn Farms, Country Daybreak, Food Lion, Glenview, Great Value, Nelms, and Sunshine Farms. Eggs from the farm were also sold to restaurants. States that received the eggs are the same as those reporting infections. The plant number on cartons and packages is P-1065, with lot codes ranging from 011 through 102.

In an Apr 14 outbreak update, the FDA said its testing of samples collected from the farm during a thorough investigation from Mar 26 to Apr 11 revealed that positive Salmonella Braenderup samples from the facility matched the rare strain from sick patients.

Also, the FDA said all of the people who got sick ate eggs or egg dishes. Trace-back investigations found that some of the eggs came from Rose Acre Farm's Hyde County farm.

The FDA said Salmonella symptoms occur 12 to 72 hours after exposure and often include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramping. The illness lasts 4 to 7 days, and most patients recover without treatment, but in some people, diarrhea is so severe that hospitalization is needed. Children, seniors, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely than others to have severe infections.

2010 outbreak

The last large outbreak linked to eggs occurred in 2010, involving Salmonella Enteritidis. At the time, the CDC tracked a nationwide increase in infections matching the same indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern, which resulted in 1,939 illnesses, a number well above what the CDC would expect to see involving the strain in a given year.

The source of the outbreak was eggs from Iowa-based Wright County Egg, and the event triggered the nation's largest egg recall, involving about 500 million eggs.

See also:

Apr 13 FDA recall notice

Apr 16 CDC outbreak announcement

Apr 14 FDA outbreak investigation update

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