More than 200 people in 11 countries could be part of a Salmonella outbreak across Europe. Investigations to find the source of the Salmonella Braenderup infections are ongoing.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) confirmed to Food Safety News that it was supporting countries in their investigations and following the incident closely with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
The hardest hit country is the United Kingdom with 52 confirmed infections while France only has one confirmed patient. Denmark has 27 and Sweden 25 confirmed infections with the Netherlands recording 13 people sick.
Mostly women sick in Denmark and Sweden
There are four confirmed and 37 probable cases in Belgium and 13 confirmed and 21 probable in Germany.
The Czech Republic has reported four probable patients, Finland has three confirmed and two probable, Ireland has four confirmed cases while Norway has five.
In Denmark, between March 26 and April 28, a total of 27 cases of Salmonella Braenderup have been reported to the Statens Serum Institut.
Whole genome sequencing found the strains were sequence type 22 and closely related to each other meaning they are likely linked to the same source.
Those sick live all over the country with the majority being women but eight men are ill. They are aged 1 to 90 years old and the median is 68 years of age.
Sweden has 25 confirmed cases with women mainly affected. Patients range in age from under 1 to 91 years old. The median age is 40. Onset of disease started in mid-April.
The Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten) reported the outbreak had affected people in 10 different regions of the country.
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.
Anyone who has developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.
Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions. Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)