December 18, 2017
Salmonella cases in EU on the rise
Salmonellosis cases in both humans and laying hens have increased in the EU by 3% and 1.21%, respectively, since 2014 following a declining trend, according to the annual report released last week by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
"The increase shown by our surveillance data is worrying and a reminder that we have to stay vigilant," said Mike Catchpole, ECDC's chief scientist.
He said that even with national control programmes for salmonella enteritidis in place, there is a need for continuing risk management actions at the member state and EU level. Salmonella enteritidis is a type of salmonella that is responsible for most salmonellosis cases and salmonella food-borne outbreaks.
Marta Hugas, EFSA's chief scientist, said that while the decrease of salmonella has been a success story in the EU food safety system in the last 10 years, recent salmonella enteritidis outbreaks contributed to a change in this trend in humans and poultry.
"Further investigations by competent authorities in the field of public health and food safety will be crucial to understand the reasons behind the increase", she said.
Campylobacter, listeria cases
A total of 94,530 human cases of salmonellosis were reported in the EU in 2016. Salmonella enteritidis, the most widespread type of salmonella, is mostly associated with the consumption of eggs, egg products and poultry meat.
Campylobacter, the most reported food-borne pathogen in humans, was detected in 246,307 people in the EU in 2016, an increase of 6.1% compared with 2015. Levels of campylobacter are high in chicken meat.
Listeria infections, which are generally more severe, led to hospitalisation in 97% of reported cases. In 2016, listeriosis continued to rise, with 2,536 cases (a 9.3% increase) and 247 deaths reported. Listeria seldom exceeded legal safety limits in ready-to-eat foods.
Salmonella bacteria were the most common cause of food-borne outbreaks (22.3%) in 2016, an increase of 11.5% compared with 2015. They caused the highest burden in terms of numbers of hospitalisations (1,766; 45.6% of all hospitalised cases) and of deaths (10; 50% of all deaths among outbreak cases).
Salmonella in eggs caused the highest number of outbreak cases (1,882).