Eggs are a good source of inexpensive, high-quality protein. In Nigeria and all over the world, egg is a common source of protein which all age groups benefit from.
More than half the protein of an egg is found in the egg white, which also includes vitamin B2 and lower amounts of fat than the yolk.
Eggs are a rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper.
For years, both egg whites and yolks have been eaten raw.
Besides being high in nutritional value, raw egg yolks and whites are super gentle on the digestive system and as long as the egg is of good quality and fresh, they are a 100 percent safe to eat.
As good as it is to eat eggs every day to get enough protein in our diet, experts insists that eggs, if not well-cooked, can lead to a bacteria infection called salmonella.
According to a research by the University of Minessota extension, the centres for disease control (CDC) estimates that one in every 20,000 eggs are contaminated with a bacteria called Salmonella.
Fresh eggs, even those with clean, uncracked shells, may contain Salmonella that can cause foodborne illness, often called “food poisoning.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that 79,000 cases of foodborne illness and 30 deaths each year are caused by eating eggs contaminated by Salmonella.
Salmonella is one of the four key global causes of diarrhea diseases, the world health organization (WHO) revealed.
Signs to watch out for salmonella infection are; diarrhea, which may have blood in it, stomach pain or cramps, which may be severe and nausea.
Other signs may include vomiting 12 to 72 hours after infection and flu-like symptoms, including headache, muscle pains, fever and fatigue.
The WHO added that the onset of the disease symptoms occurs 6 to 72 hours (usually 12 to 36 hours) after ingestion of Salmonella, and illness lasts 2 to 7 days.
Salmonella bacteria typically live in both animal and human intestines and are shed through feces, hence the diarrhea.
Symptoms usually last 4 to 7 days and most people get better without treatment.
However, in some people, particularly children and elderly patients, the associated dehydration can become severe and life-threatening such that they need to be hospitalized.
In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body parts and can cause death unless the person is treated quickly with antibiotics.
Asides contracting salmonella through the consumption of eggs, meat, poultry, and milk, the WHO explained other foods, including green vegetables contaminated by manure can lead to the bacteria.
Is it preventable?
To prevent salmonella, the Lagos Chairman of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Prof Tosin Adu in a chat with our Correspondent warned against eating raw or half cooked eggs.
“It is not good to eat slightly fried, half cooked, half boiled or raw eggs because of salmonella infection. The egg will have the bacteria in it if not well cooked. When the egg is not properly heated, it could lead to salmonella infection. It is not advisable to eat eggs cooked for less than five minutes. The minimum time for cooking an egg to prevent salmonella is five minutes and the maximum time is ten minutes.”
On Healthline, it is stated that an individual cannot tell if an egg has salmonella just by looking at it. The bacteria can be present in an egg as well as on the shell. Cooking food thoroughly can kill salmonella.
“Be aware that runny, poached, or soft eggs aren’t fully cooked, even if they are delicious,” it was stated.
Does it lead to death?
The CDC estimates that Salmonella infection causes 23,000 hospitalizations and 450 deaths in the United States each year.
People at risk
According to the US FDA, certain people are at greater risk for severe illness and include children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with weak immune systems (such as transplant patients and individuals with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and diabetes).