France – Cases of salmonellosis linked to the consumption of raw or undercooked horse meat


Update on the cases of salmonellosis detected

Public Health France has investigated 2 recent outbreaks of salmonellosis associated with the consumption of raw or undercooked / rare horse meat that occurred in France during the summer and early fall 2020 1 :

  • A 1 st outbreak with 20 cases of salmonellosis caused by Salmonella Newport, was detected by the National Reference Center (CNR) for Salmonella at the Pasteur Institute in August 2020. The Institut Pasteur performs genomic analyzes on all Salmonella strains received from biomedical and hospital analysis laboratories in order to identify genetically linked strains and therefore possibly coming from a common source of contamination. The strains were isolated from patients between 07/04/2020 and 08/22/2020. These 20 patients resided in 7 different regions, the Hauts de France gathering the most patients (N = 8). They were 12 men and 8 women, aged 19 to 94. Nine patients were hospitalized and 2 deaths were reported. 
  • A 2 nd epidemic due to a Salmonella of another serotype, the monophasic variant of S. Typhimurium (or S.4,5,12: i 🙂 was detected in early autumn. To date, 33 cases have been identified by the CNR. In these patients, the Salmonella strains were isolated between 07/31/2020 and 09/11/2020. The patients were aged 2 to 84 years, 15 were male, and 18 were female. Among the 23 cases questioned, 3 were hospitalized, no deaths were reported. These 33 patients resided in 4 different regions, the Hauts de France grouping together the most cases (N = 25).  

For these two epidemics, almost all of the patients had eaten, before their symptoms, raw or undercooked / rare horse meat (in the form of minced meat or minced meat in particular), purchased in markets or in horse butcher’s shops. .

Measures taken and reminder of good hygiene practices in the preparation of meat

The Directorate General for Food (DGAL) in conjunction with its departmental directorates (DDPP) carried out traceability surveys of horse meat consumed by these patients. These meats were imported but the exact origin of the carcasses could not be determined with certainty.
The outlets frequented by the patients interviewed were informed and they were reminded of good hygiene practices for preparing minced meat as a precaution. The authorities of some identified horse meat producing countries have been informed to carry out verifications.

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