Warsaw, Poland – Almost 1,500 people have been sickened by Salmonella linked to Polish eggs in an outbreak that has lasted more than six years and affected 18 countries.
Since 2012, more than 600 cases have been recorded by the United Kingdom, almost 300 by the Netherlands and nearly 200 by Belgium. Two deaths have been reported – a five year old child in Croatia and another patient in Hungary.
In a report published in December 2017, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) identified eggs from Poland as the vehicle of infections in the multi-strain outbreak. Despite the implementation of control measures, new outbreak cases with similar magnitude and temporal patterns were reported in 15 EU countries, including the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. The Polish National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene (NIPH–NIH) confirmed that it has seen an increase in salmonellosis cases since 2014.
As part of the ECDC investigations into the Salmonella outbreak, the Polish eggs were traced back to three egg packing centers and 52 laying hen farms. Most of them, and the three packing centers, belong to one Polish consortium. Reports suggest that the source of infection was likely to be at the level of laying hen farms.
The Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTÉ) said more than 600 consignments with 97 million eggs were withdrawn from 18 EU/EEA countries in response to the outbreak.
The outbreak is one of the two large multi-country foodborne outbreaks in Europe. The other is caused by a previously unknown Salmonella serotype and has been traced to sesame seeds imported from Sudan.