The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have published their annual report on zoonoses and food-borne outbreaks in the European Union for 2009. The report shows Salmonella cases in humans fell by 17% in 2009, marking a decrease for the fifth consecutive year.
The report also shows that between 2008 and 2009 the number of laying hen flocks infected with Salmonella fell by 9%. Campylobacteriosis remained the most reported zoonotic disease in humans, showing a slight increase with 198,252 cases in 2009 compared to 190,566 in 2008 (+4%). In foodstuffs, Campylobacter, which can cause diarrhoea and fever, was mostly found in raw poultry meat; and in live animals, it was found in poultry, pigs and cattle.
The report says that the reduction targets set by the European Commission to reduce the spread of Salmonella in poultry, eggs and chicken meat are likely to be the main reasons for the reduction in the number of human cases. The report states that in 2009 17 Member States met their Salmonella reduction targets for laying hens and that the proportion of EU laying hen flocks infected with the targeted Salmonella types continued to fall (3.2% in 2009 compared to 3.5% in 2008).
Salmonella, which is the second most reported zoonotic infection in humans, accounted for 108,614 human cases in 2009 compared to 131,468 in 2008. The illness it causes, salmonellosis, usually involves fever, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps. For more vulnerable groups, like small children and the elderly, hospital care may in some instances be required. Salmonella also remained the most frequent cause of food-borne outbreaks and was found most frequently in chicken, turkey and pig meat.
Source: European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)