Australian Breakfast Buffet Links Salmonella Outbreak to Eggs

Cross-contamination of eggs is believed to have been the cause of a Salmonella outbreak from an Australian hotel.

Seventy-one cases of Salmonella have been confirmed in Adelaide, South Australia according to a press release from Adelaide City Council. Though less than half (21) of the people have been hospitalized, it appears that the cause of the outbreak is linked to cross-contamination of raw eggs from a city hotel. Though the release did not mention the hotel name and Contagion was unable to confirm, the South Australia news source, the Advertiser, claims that InterContinental Adelaide buffet breakfast made people sick. The incident occurred on July 31, and since then the environmental health officials have been reviewing the hotel equipment and practices.

"Bacteria such as Salmonella can be found on the shell of eggs and while they may not necessarily look or smell bad, they can be contaminated," said South Australia Health (SA Health) chief medical officer professor, Paddy Phillips, MB, BS, DPhil, FRACP, MA, FACP, FAHA, FCSANZ. "Washing eggs will not remove bacteria so cracked or dirty eggs should be thrown out," Phillips added. This incident comes just weeks after a rock melon, known as cantaloupe in North America, was detected to have Salmonella, according to the Australian Melon Association Inc. The melons were deemed safe for consumption on August 5 by SA Health.

This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported four Salmonella outbreaks, tied to items such as: alfalfa sprouts, live poultry (chicks or ducklings), pistachios, and organic shake and meal products. In addition, turtles have had a history of infecting humans and were banned for sale in the 1970s. In 2015, turtles were again linked to infecting people with Salmonella.

Prevention and Treatment of Salmonella

There is no vaccine for this illness. Since food and animal origin products may be contaminated with Salmonella, special precaution must be considered. According to the CDC, "raw eggs may be unrecognized in some foods, such as homemade Hollandaise sauce, Caesar and other homemade salad dressings, tiramisu, homemade ice cream, homemade mayonnaise, cookie dough, and frostings."

Treatment of this infection focuses primarily on rehydration. According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (Mayo Clinic), anti-diarrheals like loperamide (Imodium A-D) can help relieve cramping, but they may also prolong the diarrhea associated with Salmonella infection.

Antibiotics are another mode of treatment but may prolong the period of infection. If you have concerns that you may be infected, consult your healthcare provider as quickly as possible for further analysis.

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