Citizen-Times.com reports that the state Laboratory of Public Health has detected nearly five times as many cases of the food-borne illness Salmonella enteritidis so far this year compared to the first six months in 2004.
The lab has detected more cases of the bacterial infection this year to date than in the past three years put together for the same time period, indicating a troubling rise in S. enteritidis cases statewide.
Surrounding states are experiencing similar increases in Salmonella enteritidis. North Carolina’s divisions of Public Health and Environmental Health are working with other agencies here and in those states, as well as with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, to halt the rapid increase of S. enteritidis.
No common source has yet been identified for the North Carolina outbreak, so health officials are continuing their investigation. However, recent outbreaks of the illness in nearby states have largely been associated with eggs, as have several of North Carolina’s previous outbreaks. Beef, poultry, and unpasteurized (raw) milk have also been associated with outbreaks of this type of Salmonella.
Salmonella bacteria can be found inside seemingly normal eggs. When those eggs are eaten raw or undercooked, the bacteria can cause sickness and even death. But proper handling and storage of eggs help prevent bacterial growth, and thorough cooking destroys the bacteria.