The number of reported cases of illnesses caused by Campylobacter and Salmonella bacteria in humans in Europe appear to level off over the past five years, according to the latest zoonoses report released by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
Campylobacteriosis, the most frequently reported gastrointestinal disease in the EU since 2005, affected more than 220,000 people in 2019. Salmonellosis was the second most frequently reported zoonosis in the EU, with around 88,000 people affected.
Of the 66,113 ready-to-eat food samples – foods that did not require cooking before consumption – 0.3% tested positive for Salmonella . Of the 191,181 non-ready-to-eat food samples, 1.5% tested positive. 18 of the 26 Member States reporting on programs to control Salmonella in poultry populations met all their reduction targets, up from 14 in 2018.
The next most frequently reported diseases are shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), yersiniosis and listeriosis. The trend in confirmed human cases of listeriosis remained stable between 2015 and 2019, after a long period of increase. 2,621 cases were reported in 2019, mostly affecting individuals over the age of 64. It is the most serious disease, with high rates of hospitalization (92%) and mortality (17.6%).
The report also looks at the cause of outbreaks of foodborne illness in the EU, i.e. outbreaks in which two or more people contract the same disease after consuming the same contaminated food. Salmonella remains the most frequently detected agent and causes 926 outbreaks; the number of outbreaks due to S . Enteritidis , on the other hand, has declined. The most common sources of outbreaks of salmonellosis were eggs and egg products. Noroviruses in fish and fishery products cause the greatest number of outbreaks (145) with “strong evidence” involving a food source.
A total of 5,175 outbreaks of foodborne illness were reported in 2019, a decrease of 12.3% from 2018.
The report also contains data on Mycobacterium bovis / caprae , Brucella , Yersinia , Trichinella , Echinococcus , Toxoplasma gondii , rabies, Q fever, West Nile virus and tularemia.