Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2009
Publication Date: N/A
Table eggs and eggshells may be contaminated with a variety of microorganisms, although the only significant threat to human health related to eggs in recent history has been from the bacterium Salmonella. Salmonella is currently the leading cause of bacterial foodborne illness in the U.S. with 16 laboratory-confirmed cases per 100,000 population per annum although the CDC estimates that only 1 of every 38 cases of salmonellosis is laboratory-confirmed. The CDC reports that there are 1.4 million cases of salmonellosis per year resulting in 15,000 hospitalizations and 500 deaths 300,000 of which may be attributed to Salmonella Enteritidis. Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (SE) infections in the United States began to increase in the Northeast U.S. during the late 1970s and in the Mid-Atlantic States by the mid-1980s. Contamination of shell eggs with S. Enteritidis has been presumptively associated with transovarian transmission from the infected ovaries of laying hens. Between 1985 and 1998, 794 S. Enteritidis outbreaks involving 28,644 illnesses (36 per outbreak), 2,839 hospitalizations (9.9 percent of illnesses) and 79 deaths (one death for every 10 outbreaks, every 36 hospitalizations and every 363 illnesses) were reported by the CDC. The current USDA, FSIS risk assessment, based on epidemiological data, estimated that 130,000 cases of egg-associated SE occurs in the United States each year.