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By JoNel Aleccia of MSNBC

An outbreak of salmonella illnesses linked to shell eggs has prompted a nationwide recall of 13 brands of eggs produced by an Iowa company and triggered a multi-state investigation that is expected to grow.

The Associated Press estimated the total recalled at 228 million eggs, although the company in question, Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa, wouldn’t confirm it.

So far, clusters of illnesses linked to eggs have been confirmed in at least three states, California, Colorado and Minnesota, federal health officials said Tuesday. In California, tainted eggs have sickened at least 266 people, Los Angeles County health officer Dr. Jonathan Fielding told reporters Tuesday.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking into a four-fold spike in reported cases of salmonella enteritidis with a particular genetic fingerprint in late June and early July, said Lola Russell, a CDC spokeswoman. In addition, many states have reported increases in the specific pattern since May. That could indicate hundreds of illnesses tied to the outbreak, Russell said.

On Friday, officials with Wright County Egg, issued a national recall for 13 brands of eggs with particular date stamps because they had the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. The eggs were packed between May 16 and August 13.

The recalled eggs are packaged under the following brand names: Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph’s, Boomsma’s, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemps. The eggs are packed in cartons of various sizes, including 6-egg cartons, dozen-egg cartons and 18-egg cartons.

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