PHE: Campylobacter at lowest level since 2008

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock/Magone
©iStock/Magone

Related tags: Food safety, Listeria monocytogenes

Campylobacter in England and Wales fell in 2015, according to Public Health England (PHE).

The annual cases reported were 55,697 in 2015 compared to 62,494 in 2014.

It is at the lowest level since 2008 (49,891 cases).

Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK and can last between two and 10 days.

phe campy eng and wales
PHE data on Campylobacter cases in England and Wales

The pathogen develops a few days after consuming contaminated food and symptoms include abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and vomiting.

About four in five cases of poisoning come from contaminated poultry.

Infection demographics

In the Second Study of Infectious Intestinal Disease in the Community (IID2 Study), it was estimated that for every one case of Campylobacter identified in national surveillance, there were 9.3 in the community.

The region that reported the highest number was the South East with 9,489, second was the South West (7,033) while North East was the lowest (3,204) and Wales reported 3,795 cases.

Data comes from the Second Generation Surveillance System (SGSS) and Electronic Foodborne and Non-Foodborne Gastrointestinal Outbreak Surveillance System (eFOSS).

The 50-59 year age group had the highest number of cases just ahead of the 60-69 age group while >80 years and the 10-19 years age bracket reported the least.

The peak month for Campylobacter reporting in 2015 was June while confirmed cases were at their lowest levels in December.

In two different outbreak examples, Campylobacter spp sickened 44 people (six laboratory confirmed) from chicken liver parfait at a club and 33 (11 lab confirmed) from mixed foods - pasta salad and noodles at a restaurant.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) estimates that Campylobacter causes more than 100 deaths a year and costs the UK economy about £900m.

Listeria monocytogenes trends

PHE said the annual cases reported for Listeria monocytogenes in England and Wales were 169 which was the same as in 2014.  

phe listeria eng and wales
PHE data on Listeria in England and Wales

It is at the highest level since 2009 (213 cases), according to SGSS data.

The London (35) and the South East (29) regions reported the highest numbers of Listeria monocytogenes cases, accounting for 38% of the national total.

The lowest numbers were from Wales (seven) and the North East (six).

Reporting of listeriosis is dominated by people over the age of 60 and women of child-bearing age (20-29), the latter being cases associated with pregnancy.  

It is lowest in those between the age brackets of 10-19 and <10.

October was the peak time for reporting in 2015 with January, February and November being the months with the least lab confirmed cases.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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