(NEXSTAR) – Chocolates produced in Belgium for the Kinder company are causing an outbreak of antibiotic-resistant salmonella in several countries, including the U.S.
The outbreak has also been linked to at least nine hospitalizations across the globe, the World Health Organization says.
About 150 people have gotten sick with salmonella typhimurium after eating chocolate eggs made at the Ferrero Corporate plant in Arlon, Belgium, between December 2021 and January 2022, according to WHO. The news comes just after Easter, when the chocolates may have been given to children. WHO says the majority (89%) of those who’ve gotten sick are children ages 10 and younger.
Affected items are Kinder Surprise, Kinder Mini Eggs, Kinder Surprise Maxi 100g, and Kinder Schoko-Bons, which were distributed worldwide.
The highest number of cases have been reported in Europe. There’s only one confirmed case in the U.S. so far, though WHO says more cases are likely to be reported globally.
Symptom data is slim for now, as there’s only information for 21 cases — 12 of which reported bloody diarrhea. No fatalities have been reported, but data from those 21 cases points to a high hospitalization rate.
The salmonella typhimurium bacteria are responsible for causing salmonellosis infection. The illness usually occurs between six and 72 hours after ingestion, and lasts for about two to seven days, WHO says.
The United Kingdom Health Security Agency says this strain is resistant to six types of antibiotics: penicillin, aminoglycosides (streptomycin, spectinomycin, kanamycin, and gentamycin), phenols, sulfonamides, trimethoprim, tetracyclines.
While salmonella infections don’t usually require treatment, exposure can be dangerous for younger children and the elderly.
The risk level is considered moderate until more information is available, according to WHO. If you have these Kinder items, you should throw them away and contact Kinder/Ferrero for more information.