State health officials have confirmed 211 cases so far this year of poisoning from a strain of salmonella bacteria – more during the first six months of 2005 than for each of the past three years.

At least 30 counties – including Onslow – have confirmed cases of Salmonella enteritidis poisoning, but state officials said there are probably many more incidents. People who are stricken by the bacteria often battle the infection without consulting a doctor.

Since last July, more than 70 cases have been reported in Onslow County, Onslow Health Director George O’Daniel said Tuesday. That’s up from 66 during the same period last year, O’Daniel said.

There were 21 cases reported in August alone, O’Daniel said. The next monthly high was 11.