Salmonella: Eggs attack!

Salmonella: Eggs attack!. 44063.jpegRegular chicken eggs look quite innocent: the white and the yolk, very simple. However, this simplicity is deceptive as an egg can serve as a dwelling place for salmonella bacteria. This is why at one point thousands of moms in the Soviet Union deprived the children of a sweet drink called eggnog. How do the bacteria get inside?

Bacterium Salmonella Enteritidis have several clever plans to seize the "fortress". First, it can penetrate through the egg shells contaminated with guano. A great deal of bacteria lives in the intestines of infected chickens, humans and animals, and often infection occurs when chickens hatch eggs. If eggs were hatched by cats who seem to wash all the time when they are not eating, playing, or sleeping, such problems would not have existed. Unfortunately, chickens do not bathe, and chasing after hens with a roll of toilet paper is not realistic.

In the U.S. the farmers learned to wash poultry eggs only in the 1970s. They did not come up with this idea on their own, but on the orders of the Department of Food Safety. Nevertheless, water treatments are not a guaranteed protection from salmonella. Salmonella Enteritidis infects chicken ovaries as well, so eggs may be infected before finally being formed. Therefore, all chickens in poultry farms undergo tests to identify infections in the ovaries.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, at any time in the U.S. there is a certain percentage of infected hens. However, experts of the Centre assured that infected chickens can hatch healthy eggs, which they successfully do, only occasionally laying an egg contaminated with salmonella.

Unfortunately, there is no certain way to avoid this infection. There is only one recommendation: when buying eggs, make sure that the shell is not stained with guano. Chicken's lifestyle and living conditions are by no means a guarantee of health, and, respectively, safety of the eggs.

Health professionals also recommend avoiding consumption of soft-boiled eggs because only careful thermal treatment can destroy the bacteria. Even if the egg shell is clean, and its insides do not look suspicious, it does not mean anything because Salmonella does not affect the appearance or taste of eggs. Specialists from the Department for Food Safety say that egg dishes should ideally be warmed to at least 71 degrees Celsius. Incidentally, Salmonella does not die when eggs are frozen.

Salmonellosis affects the stomach and intestines. This is one of the most common infectious diseases in the world. In the U.S. each year over two million cases of salmonellosis are recorded. Symptoms include fever, weakness, body aches, chills and decreased appetite. Infants who for obvious reasons cannot explain what bothers them may be crabby, anxious, cry often, refuse to eat and sleep poorly.

The symptoms of the infection usually manifest themselves within 12-72 hours after the bacteria have entered the body. The disease lasts from four to seven days, and most adults do not need antibiotics as the body copes on its own. Most susceptible to the infections are elderly, children and those with weakened immunity. People in this group may experience the infection going from the intestines into the bloodstream and then spreading throughout the body. This may be fatal if patients do not see a doctor in a timely fashion.

Natalia Sinitsa

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov