Under a very high magnification of 12000X, this colorized scanning electron micrograph shows a large grouping of Gram-negative Salmonella bacteria. Reuters/Janice Haney

The Department of Health and Human Services Senior Medical Advisor, Dr. Finn Romanes, believes that salmonella infection outbreak in Australia can prove to be fatal for people having a compromised immune system, elderly people and babies.

Health authorities in Victoria have received numerous reports of salmonella strain since it was reported on Thursday. The number of cases linked to the pre-packaged lettuce has almost doubled. Around 54 cases of salmonella anatum strain have been reported and linked to pre-packed lettuce distributed by Victorian-based company Tripod Farmers. On Thursday, only 28 cases were reported.

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Retailers Lite n' Easy and Aussie Farmers Direct have also confirmed they sold some of the affected products. The infected products are sold at Bi-Lo, Woolworths, Coles and other grocers as Wash N Toss salad mix, SupaSalad Supamix, Woolworths salad mix and Coles 4 Leaf Mix, writes The Sydney Morning Herald.

The salmonella strain infected products have best-before dates leading up to and including Feb. 14. They have been sold in all states and territories, except Western Australia and Tasmania. The health department found out the lettuce after it recorded abnormally high levels of salmonella anatum strain infections and traced them back to the products.

“We are working with the company to understand what may have occurred ... They have instituted a comprehensive clean-up to make sure any risk is minimised,” said Romanes.

Common salmonella symptoms include fever, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, headache, dehydration and vomiting, especially in the elderly and the infants. The symptoms occur within six to 72 hours after the bacteria is ingested, writes Salmonella is a form of gastroenteritis and can affect anybody.

Sandwiches at 7-Eleven have also been recalled. The Food Standards Authority of Australia and New Zealand has also issued a recall notice on its website. Romanes said if people were unwell, they must see their doctors without further delay. A simple test can detect a salmonella infection.