PARMA, Italy – The European Union is reporting an ongoing outbreak of a rare Salmonella type in several member countries that may be related to turkey production.

Salmonella Stanley infections were confirmed in 167 cases, and another 254 probable cases were reported in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and Poland, according to a report from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. The agencies said investigations by food and veterinary specialists suggest a likely connection between the turkey production chain and the outbreak.

However, isolates with patterns indistinguishable from the outbreak strain were also detected in broiler flocks (breeding and fattening chicken flocks) and meat from other animal species, such as broiler meat, beef and pork, the report stated. Therefore, food safety authorities have not ruled out other potential sources of contamination, such as beef, pork and broiler meat.

"As control measures have not yet been implemented to remove the source of infection and potential food vehicles from the market, it is likely that additional human cases of S. Stanley infections will be reported in EU member states," according to the report detailing.

Salmonella Stanley infections are rare outside of Southeast Asia — mainly Thailand, according to ECDC. Infections usually appear only in people who have traveled to the region. But the EU outbreak is thought to have originated in turkeys grown in Europe.

EFSA is urging consumers and workers in the food chain at all levels (from production to catering) to be very strict with personal hygiene, such as hand washing and food safety when handling raw turkey meat.