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Hawaii Department of Health
July 2, 1998

Hawaii - Significant Increase in the Number of Salmonella Enteritidis, Public Advised to Thoroughly
Cook Eggs and Poultry

HAWAII - (www.SafetyAlerts.com) The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) is advising the general public to thoroughly cook their eggs and poultry after recent reports from DOH laboratories show a significant increase in the number of Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) cases on O‘ahu.

Since mid-May, 46 cases of Salmonella Enteritidis have been confirmed by the DOH labs. Ninety-three confirmed cases have been reported since the start of the year. This compares with 70 cases reported in 1998 and 38 cases for all of 1997. No deaths have been reported as a result of the most recent outbreak although five children have been hospitalized.

“The public needs to be aware that there are health risks associated with eating raw or undercooked eggs and other fresh produce,” says Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson. “This is especially the case now with the increase in the number of Salmonella Enteritidis cases we are seeing in the state.”

Salmonella Enteritidis illness is a bacterial infection of the intestines which can result in severe diarrhea and fever. For the elderly and immuno-compromised it can be fatal. This type of bacterium is associated with poultry and eggs because it is found in poultry and enters the egg before the shell forms. Thoroughly cooking eggs and chicken will kill the bacteria.

The DOH is working with the State Department of Agriculture to determine why Hawai‘i has seen an increase in the number of Salmonella Enteritidis cases in recent years.

The first established link between outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis and eggs appeared in the United States in 1989. Since that time there has been an increase in Salmonella Enteritidis illness associated with eggs and poultry across the United States.

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