ADELAIDE – In South Australia, cases of Salmonella infections already are 15 percent higher than the five-year average.

“With 12 outbreaks and 1,182 people struck down with food poising this year to date, we have already recorded more Salmonella cases than we normally see in a full year,” said Dr. Fay Jenkins, SA Health Director of Food and Controlled Drugs. On average, there are 1,172 reports of Salmonella across the state each year, Dr. Jenkins said.

“Of particular concern is that 17 percent of those cases have been in children aged less than five years,” she added. Salmonella infections can have serious consequences for vulnerable populations such as the elderly, pregnant women and young children. Dr. Jenkins said unsafe egg handling is a common cause of infection, although the exact cause of Salmonella can be difficult to pinpoint.

“Eggs are tasty and nutritious, so it would be a shame to fall ill,” Dr. Jenkins said. “To reduce the risk of sickness, do not use eggs if they are cracked or dirty, wash your hands after handling eggs and keep raw egg products like aioli, mayonnaise and mousse refrigerated.

“Of course, eggs are only one of many sources of Salmonella, so being aware of food safety in and out of the home is more important than ever,” she added. “This is why people need to be vigilant about handling, cooking and storing food correctly as most cases of food borne illness are preventable through good hygiene and safe food handling practices.”