Researchers have developed a new method to predict the severity of salmonella outbreaks – and they say the results are troubling.
Experts at the University of Sydney say Australia has had more outbreaks of salmonella than any other country in the last decade.
Recent egg recalls across the country underscore the need for stricter hygiene regulation, a study released on Thursday said.
Researchers believe that their new test model can predict outbreaks several months in advance.
But the director of Professor of Complex Systems Research, Mikhail Prokopenko, says future outbreaks will be more serious.
"Data on Salmonella outbreaks in New South Wales over the last decade highlight a continuing" arms race "between pathogens and their human hosts," he said.
He says the pathogen that causes salmonella infection continues to adapt to better infect human hosts.
Continually evolving, there are about 93.8 million global salmonella infections annually.
This results in about 155,000 deaths worldwide.
Salmonella is the most fatal fatal disease in Australia, according to CSIRO.
Researchers believe that the pathogen can become a "superbug".
Your priority has now changed to predict future outbreaks.
"This network mapping will help predict future outbreaks by understanding the behavior of salmonella," Prokopenko said.
Experts say to avoid eating high-risk foods such as raw or partially cooked eggs, unpasteurized milk and raw ground beef.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after handling raw eggs or raw meat, or after any contact with birds and other animals.
Watch for food recalls, particularly infected eggs.
Australians are being encouraged to take extra care when preparing their Easter meals this holiday season.
NSW Health's Director of Communicable Diseases, Vicky Sheppeard, said that most infections occur when someone eats contaminated food.
"The best way to prevent salmonella infections is to ensure that meat, poultry and eggs are well cooked and not left at high temperatures," she said.
Leaving food out of refrigeration causes bacteria to multiply.
"Salmonellosis can be quite serious and in some cases, particularly in young infants, elderly and people with weakened immune systems, people need to be hospitalized."