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Commun Dis Intell Q Rep. 2009 Mar;33(1):49-52.

Egg-associated Salmonella outbreak in an aged care facility, New South Wales, 2008.

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Hunter New England Population Health.


Salmonellosis is a bacterial disease that causes acute gastroenteritis, with sudden onset of headache, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea and sometimes vomiting. Infection is often associated with the consumption of foods prepared using raw eggs. During July to August 2008 an outbreak at an aged care facility (ACF) in New South Wales was confirmed as Salmonella Typhimurium phage type 44 (Stm 44) in eight of 45 residents. Two additional probable cases also occurred. Cases were located in each unit of the ACF and for 5 cases, onset of diarrhoea was between 45 to 64 hours (median of 46 hours) after consumption of a dessert containing raw eggs. Onset for 5 further cases occurred up to 9 days after this meal. Eggs were supplied to the ACF from a local farm. Stm 44 was detected on an egg in an unopened box at the ACF from this supplier. The raw-egg dessert was epidemiologically implicated as the likely source of the Salmonella and delayed onset cases may have resulted from ingestion of a smaller dose of Salmonella, or ongoing transmission through cross-contamination of kitchen machinery or surfaces. This outbreak demonstrates that inadequate cooking of eggs continues to pose a risk for Salmonella infection in settings with vulnerable populations. The findings of the investigation provide support for the importance of food safety regulations and demand further advocacy for measures to reduce the risks associated with the distribution, storage and preparation of shell eggs.

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