Denmark – Denmark hit by a trio of Listeria outbreaks with unknown sources; eight deaths reported

Food Safety News

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Officials in Denmark are investigating three separate Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks that have affected almost 30 people with eight deaths reported.

The Statens Serum Institut, Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen) and DTU Food Institute are trying to find the sources of these outbreaks.

One had already been reported but the Statens Serum Institut has updated the number of people sick. This incident has affected nine people, all of them have been hospitalized and four have died. Five cases are men and four are women.

Patients range from 33 to 93 years old and all had an underlying disease or other immune system issue prior to infection that made them particularly vulnerable, such as meningitis or sepsis. Eight are from the Hovedstaden region of the country. Sample dates range from May 13 to June 6, 2022.

Whole genome sequencing found the strains were closely related and of the sequence type (ST) 37.

Speaking earlier in June, Nikolas Hove from Fødevarestyrelsen said it was rare to see so many Listeria infections in such a short period of time and officials were working to find out which foods were the cause of illness, so the outbreak could be stopped.

Fødevarestyrelsen has written to a number of large industry organizations calling for their members to sharpen in-house monitoring of Listeria. If they find the bacterium in the environment or products, they can have it typed for free at Fødevarestyrelsen’s laboratory.

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