EFSA report on animal infections transmissible to humans

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Thursday, December 20, 2007

EFSA and ECDC have launched their yearly joint Community report on infectious diseases transmissible from animals to humans.

Over 350,000 people in the European Union (EU) are being affected by zoonotic diseases every year.

The report of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows that while the number of Salmonella infections in humans are still falling, infections from Listeria – which can be very dangerous to pregnant women and have a high mortality rate – are on the rise.

The Campylobacter infections still top the list of reported human zoonotic diseases. Resistance of Campylobacter bacteria in both humans and animals to one commonly used antimicrobial drug, ciprofloxacin, is reaching high levels and is cause for concern, the report said.

Over 175,000 people in the EU suffered from Campylobacter infections in 2006. 46 cases in every 100,000 people were reported in 2006, falling from 52 cases per 100,000 in 2005 (195,426 confirmed human cases in 2005).

Salmonella , although experiencing a fall in the number of cases for a third successive year,remains second in the list of human zoonotic diseases across the EU with 160,649 people infected in 2006 (35 cases per 100,000) compared to 173,879 confirmed cases in 2005 (38 people per 100,000).

The number of human listeriosis cases was up by 8.6% in the EU from 1,427 cases in 2005 to 1,583 in 2006, with the number of cases per 100,000 having increased by 59% over the last five years. Listeria cases have a high mortality rate, particularly among vulnerable groups such as the elderly. It is also very dangerous to pregnant women as it can cause foetal infections, miscarriages and stillbirths. 56% of Listeria infections occurred in individuals above 65 years of age. Ready-to-eat foodstuffs, such as cheeses and fishery and meat products, tended to be at the origin of most human infections.