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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Could Salmonella Enteritidis illnesses linked to Wright County Egg be over 20,000?

In the last three months we have been tracking more than a few Salmonella outbreaks, like S. Typhi in mamey pulp, S. Hartford and S. Baildon at Taco Bell, S, Arizonae in rattlesnake cakes, and on and on. We have also seen more than a few S. Enteritidis cases, but as it is one of the most common serotypes, it had been difficult to see a common denominator.

giant-calculator.jpgWell, that was until the CDC (and Minnesota separately) announced yesterday that In May 2010, it had identified a nationwide increase in the number of Salmonella Enteritidis isolates with PFGE pattern JEGXX01.0004 uploaded to PulseNet. The CDC pointed to the fact that this increase represented approximately a four-fold increase over the expected number of reported isolates of this particular PFGE pattern. Approximately 200 isolates were uploaded to PulseNet on a weekly basis during late June and early July compared to an expected 50 uploads a week on average during this same period in the previous 5 years.

Also, according to the CDC, for every one person who is a stool-culture confirmed positive victim of salmonella in the United States, there a multiple of 38.5 who are also sick, but remain uncounted. (See, AC Voetsch, “FoodNet estimate of the burden of illness caused by nontyphoidal Salmonella infections in the United States,” Clinical Infectious Diseases 2004; 38 (Suppl 3): S127-34).

This means that in this Wright County Egg Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak, even if you focus on just the months of “late June and early July” (approximately four weeks at an increase of 150 illnesses a week equaling 600 per month more than expected – this number is bound to rise), we have been experiencing 23,100 illnesses thus far.