Salmonella infections due to tainted eggs increase

By City News Service

The number of San Diegans who have developed salmonella infections has skyrocketed in the past three months, coinciding with the recent recall of millions of potentially tainted eggs, a county Health and Human Services Department official said Friday.

Area doctors treated 86 patients for salmonella between May 19 and Wednesday, according to Tom Christensen of the HHSA.

That compares to two patients between January and May 19, Christensen said.

He said there is no way to definitely confirm the patients were sickened by tainted eggs, but the time period correlates and the strain of salmonella is the same.

Nationally, nearly 2,000 salmonella cases have been reported in a similar time period, compared to a normal total of about 700, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Hillandale Farms of Iowa announced today that it was recalling shell eggs due to the potential for contamination with salmonella enteriditis. Although the company did not specify how many eggs were impacted, the number was estimated to be in the millions.

The Hillandale eggs were distributed in 14 states, including California, under the brand names Hillandale Farms, Sunny Farms and Sunny Meadow, packaged in six-, 12- and 18-egg cartons, or in 30-egg packages and five-dozen cases. Loose eggs were packaged under the brand names Wholesome Farms and West Creek in 15- and 30-dozen tray packs.

The affected eggs have plant numbers 1860 - with Julian dates ranging from 099-230 - and 1663 - with Julian dates ranging from 137-230, according to the company. The dates and codes can be found stamped on the end of the carton. The plant number, which follows a P, is first, followed by the Julian date.

Those eggs join the more than 380 million that were recalled over the past week by Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa.

The company originally recalled eggs packaged under the following brand names: Lucerne, Albertsons, Mountain Dairy, Ralph’s, Boomsma’s, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemps.

Varying carton sizes - six egg, one dozen and 18-egg cartons - with Julian dates ranging from 136 to 225 and plant numbers 1026, 1413 and 1946 are subject to the recall.

On Thursday, the company expanded the recall to include eggs under the following brand names: Albertsons, Farm Fresh, James Farms, Glenview, Mountain Dairy, Ralphs, Boomsma, Lund, Kemps and Pacific Coast. Those eggs were also packaged in various carton sizes, with Julian dates ranging from 136-229 and plant numbers 1720 and 1942.

Consumers were advised to return the eggs to the store of purchase for a full refund.

Most people who get sick with salmonella enteriditis develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps between 12 and 72 hours after infection, according to health officials. The illness typically lasts between four and seven days.

But babies, elderly people and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop severe illness. Severe infections can be fatal if left untreated with antibiotics.