In North Carolina, 453 cases of salmonella have been reported in the first five months of 2005, according to North Carolina’s State Health Director Leah Devlin, M.D.

The North Carolina cases to date are four times the number of cases reported through all of 2004, and the state’s division of public health believes that the outbreak resulted from ingesting raw or undercooked eggs, according to WFMY News 2.

In the report, Dr. Devlin stated: "The bacterium that causes Salmonella enteritidis can be found inside seemingly normal eggs, but if eggs are eaten raw or undercooked, the bacteria can cause sickness and even death."

In the past several months alone, salmonella has sickened individuals in numerous states. Already this summer, residents in Minnesota, Washington, Oregon and Ohio were allegedly sickened by Salmonella typhimurium after consuming ice cream purchased at Cold Stone Creamery outlets. The ice cream was recalled last month.

The FDA also suggests using pasteurized eggs for all dishes that call for raw or softly cooked eggs.

The National Restaurant Association is also trying to increase awareness levels, recommending that eggs be cooked to 145 degrees, and held there, in order to eliminate salmonella. Few cooks actually temperature test their egg dishes, in turn preparing many eggs in styles with soft yolks that don’t meet these safe temperature levels, such as over-easy eggs which are a favorite for dunking toast.