Public Health England (PHE) is continuing to investigate a national outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis. Total reported numbers have reached 247 cases, from 158 on 15 August 2014.
The additional cases are not new infections from the last 7 days, but historical cases reported to PHE during that week. Encouragingly, overall case reporting slowed over the last week.
On 15 August 2014, it was confirmed 3 hospital patients in the Birmingham outbreak sadly died. Salmonella was not cited as a contributing factor on the death certificates of 2 patients and the coroner’s report concerning the third patient is pending.
Dr Paul Cleary, consultant epidemiologist at PHE, said:
Investigations into the recent Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak are progressing, at both a national and European level.
There is now evidence to indicate that cases in Europe with the same strains of Salmonella infection were associated with consumption of eggs from a single source. This egg supply also reached distributors and food outlets in England, but at this stage we cannot conclusively demonstrate this is the infection source in this country.
We are continuing to work with the Food Standards Agency and public health organisations in Europe but, importantly, the decline in Salmonella case reporting this week alongside other elements of our investigations reassures us that the current risk to public health is low.
Salmonella Enteritidis is a bacterium that causes gastrointestinal illness and is often associated with poultry or eggs. Symptoms include diarrhoea, stomach cramps and sometimes vomiting and fever. Symptoms are self-limiting and most people recover without treatment although it is important to remain hydrated.