Incidence of Salmonella falls for fifth year running

28-03-2011 | | |

Salmonella cases in humans fell by 17% in 2009, marking a decrease for the fifth consecutive year, according to the latest European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) annual report on zoonoses and food-borne outbreaks.

The report also shows that between 2008 and 2009 the number of laying hen flocks infected with Salmonella fell by 9%.

“The fall in Salmonella cases in humans is a great achievement and indicates that the control measures put in place by EU Member States and the European Commission are working. EFSA, in cooperation with its partners, will continue to support all efforts to reduce all zoonotic diseases across the EU,” said Hubert Deluyker, EFSA’s Director of Scientific Cooperation and Assistance.

Andrea Ammon, Head of Surveillance Unit at ECDC, added: “Combining surveillance of disease in humans with information from food and animals provides invaluable information that allows the European Commission to target control measures effectively across Europe. ECDC will continue to collaborate intensively with all partners in order to decrease the occurrence of these diseases.”

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).

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 covers 14 zoonotic diseases, including Q fever, brucellosis, bovine tuberculosis, rabies and the two parasitic zoonoses, trichinellosis and echinococcosis. The full version of the report with data by country and annexes is available on EFSA and ECDC websites.