Rapid Outbreak Assessment: Multi-country outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis sequence type (ST)11 infections linked to eggs and egg products

Risk assessment

On 2 September 2021, France reported an increase in Salmonella Enteritidis ST11 infections. By 11 January 2022, 272 confirmed cases had been reported in five European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) countries and the United Kingdom (UK): Denmark (n=3), France (n=216), the Netherlands (n=12), Norway (n=7), Spain (n=22), and the UK (n=12) in 2021. Two deaths were recorded in adult men. Twenty-five cases were hospitalised. Sixty cases reported consumption of eggs/egg products.

Executive summary

Some cases reported in France in 2021 had visited restaurants serving eggs distributed by a common supplier, Spanish Packing Centre A. The eggs originated from three Spanish farms, one testing positive for the outbreak strain. Fresh table eggs from the farms linked to the outbreak were withdrawn and redirected for use in heat-treated egg products. No other countries received eggs from the same farms via Packing Centre A during summer 2021. Therefore, the source of infection for cases in late 2021 and in countries other than Spain and France could not be established.

This 2021 outbreak is linked microbiologically to a historical cross-border outbreak reported by the Netherlands in 2019. Eggs consumed by cases in the Dutch outbreak were traced back to a Spanish farm, but it was not possible to identify an epidemiological link with the 2021 outbreak. This suggests a wide distribution of the outbreak strain that could affect the food supply chain and/or earlier steps in the production chain. There may be multiple heterogeneous sources of S. Enteritidis ST11, and the outbreak strain could also be circulating at other farms, inside or outside Spain.

The risk of new infections caused by the outbreak strain and contaminated eggs remains high in the EU/EEA. It is therefore important to foster cross-sectoral investigations of contaminations in the egg supply chain in countries where S. Enteritidis ST11 has been detected.