An ‘‘exotic’’ strain of salmonella has prompted a recall of some egg brands across four states and the destruction of hundreds of thousands of hens.
Five people contracted Salmonella enteritidis linked to eggs produced by Victoria’s Bridgewater Poultry, about 40km north-west of Bendigo, the state’s health department said.
A person also fell ill in Tasmania from the same strain in February, but has since recovered.
‘‘It is like an exotic pest, it’s the cane toad of salmonella,’’ Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said about the strain.
‘‘It is not a normal organism found in eggs in Victoria, indeed Australia.’’
Symptoms include fever, headache, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting and usually start six to 72 hours after consuming the contaminated food and can last up to a week.
The company’s free-range and barn-laid eggs are packaged as Woolworths brand, Victorian Fresh, and Loddon Valley, with best-before dates ranging from March 20 to April 29.
They are on shelves in Victoria, NSW, Tasmania and South Australia.
All other eggs were safe to eat, Dr Sutton said.
The health and human services department with Agriculture Victoria inspectors identified the strain at the property during a routine check at the farm on Monday. Quarantine measures have been imposed.
The Victorian cases were suspected to be linked to properties in NSW contaminated last year, with a national investigation under way to determine how they may be connected, Dr Sutton said.
Industry group Australian Eggs confirmed the nation has some of the world’s safest eggs and urged consumers to continue consuming them, except for the at-risk products.