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UK: Increase in cases of salmonella

The Food Standards Agency and Health Protection Agency (HPA) are investigating a recent increase in the number of cases of a certain type of salmonella in England and Wales.

The increase in cases of Salmonella Enteritidis phage type (PT) 14b, since mid-August 2009, was noted by the HPA as part of its monitoring of infectious diseases.

A total of 443 cases of S. Enteritidis (PT) 14b have been reported to the HPA this year, compared with 137 cases in 2008. A total of 14 clusters of cases in England and Wales are currently being investigated to determine if there is a common source of infection. A total of 144 cases of S. Enteritidis (PT) 14b have been associated with these 14 clusters.

The clusters have been linked to a number of different catering establishments and one care home. Although there is no conclusive evidence yet, the clusters may be linked to eggs sourced from outside the UK and used in these establishments. Investigations are ongoing into a possible link to eggs sourced from an approved establishment in Spain, and the UK and Spanish authorities are working in close cooperation to investigate this.

In the meantime, the FSA is reminding caterers and other food businesses how to cook and prepare eggs safely. Safer food, better business (SFBB) is also available to help catering businesses comply with food hygiene regulations that were introduced in January 2006. SFBB packs have been translated into other languages to help producers of international cuisines and versions are also available for childminders and care homes.

Source: Food Standards Agency (FSA)

Natalie Berkhout

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