Tilapia have been linked to an outbreak of Streptococcus, which affected 146 people in Singapore, prompting the FAO to issue a “risk profile report” to raise awareness of the threat.
In 2015, around 146 people became ill after eating a traditional raw freshwater fish dish in Singapore, with several people eventually having to have limbs amputated. It turns out that they had developed blood poisoning linked to a bacterium called Streptococcus agalactiae, also called Group B Streptococcus (SBS). The specific strain responsible for the outbreak was a unique sequence type 283 (ST283). A four-page factsheet, Invasive disease linked to raw freshwater fish, has just been made available, as has a more comprehensive Risk profile – Group B Streptococcus (GBS) – Streptococcus agalactiae sequence type (ST) 283 in freshwater fish.
Dr Tim Barkham, an associate professor at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore, first identified the human health risk. “Many microbiologists were surprised, as invasive GBS disease in people has not been known to be foodborne previously,” he said.