Since May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noticed a 400% increase in Salmonella enteritidis infections.
As I reported earlier this week, the feds have linked the ongoing outbreak to Wright County Egg, an Iowa-based company that has sold potentially contaminated shell eggs to retailers and distributors in eight states: California, Illinois, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. Brands subject to recall appear here.
The Associated Press initially reported that 228 million eggs were recalled. The recall has since expanded to 380 million eggs and nine additional states: Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.
At last count, 226 Californians, 28 Coloradans and 7 Minnesotans have been sickened. Additional illnesses are suspected in Arizona, Nevada, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin.
The current epidemic is linked to intact and disinfected grade A eggs. Salmonella enteritidis silently infects the ovaries of seemingly healthy hens and contaminates the eggs before the shells form.
California Distributor Recalls Wright Eggs
On Tuesday, Ripon, Calif.-based NuCal Food recalled eggs supplied by Wright County Egg. The eggs, repackaged into 5-dozen retail units, were distributed to food wholesalers and retailers in California and Nevada.
In addition to the original Wright County Egg brands cited, the following products are being recalled:
Bayview Large 5dz
Mountain Dairy Medium 5dz
Nulaid Medium 5dz
Nulaid Medium 5dz
Sun Valley Medium 5dz
How Salmonella Presents
Infected patients usually have fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea, which begin 12 to 72 hours after consuming contaminated foods or beverages. The illness lasts approximately 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without antibiotic treatment. If diarrhea is severe, hospitalization may be required.
During the 1980s, illnesses related to contaminated eggs occurred most frequently in the northeastern United States. Now, other parts of the country are equally at risk.
The CDC estimates 2% of U.S. consumers could be exposed to a contaminated egg each year.