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European Union Finds Easter Eggs Reason Behind Salmonella Outbreak In Europe, US

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According to European health officials, 266 confirmed cases and 58 suspected cases of a salmonella infection outbreak linked to chocolate Easter eggs are now being reported throughout Europe and in north America. The cases are now majorly being seen in children.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said that 86.3 percent of the cases were among children aged 10 or younger, and for all cases in Europe, 41.3 percent of them were hospitalized. Till now, no deaths have been reported.
The salmonella cases are being reported in 14 European countries, Canada and the United States.

The European Union agency are suspecting a Belgian factory, which closed in April. The global recall and withdrawal of their products from the shelves "have reduced the risk of exposure, but new cases may occur due to the long shelf life and possible storage of products at home," the agency said.

In early April, food authorities in several European countries said that Italian company Ferrero had recalled certain batches of Kinder chocolate products due to suspicions of a connection between the products and a salmonella outbreak.

The two outbreak strains, which are both known to be multidrug-resistant, were identified in 10 of the 81 salmonella-positive samples taken in the Belgian plant in December and January, including in buttermilk, semi-finished and finished products. The buttermilk was provided by an Italian supplier where salmonella was not found
"Based on the available evidence, salmonella has not been detected in other plants," the agency said on Wednesday.

The Stockholm-based agency said it is monitoring the situation, and encouraged close co-operation with food safety authorities in the countries affected.

The CDC estimates salmonella causes about 1.35 million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths in the United States every year.

The bacteria, which causes the illness, salmonellosis, can cause diarrhoea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days and most people will recover without treatment, however some may need to be hospitalized for severe diarrhoea.

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