Campylobacter infection remains top in Denmark

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

More than 100 Campylobacter infections were linked to duck meat. ©iStock/ajafoto
More than 100 Campylobacter infections were linked to duck meat. ©iStock/ajafoto

Related tags Foodborne outbreaks Gastroenteritis Salmonella

Campylobacter remains the most common foodborne pathogen in Denmark with almost 4,700 cases in 2016.

There were three foodborne outbreaks caused by it last year; two with a few cases each and one due to imported duck meat caused 103 infections.

Sampling at the wholesaler of the same lots of duck meat delivered to the catering company showed Campylobacter.

The 4,677 total cases is a 7% increase compared to 2015 but it is not possible to know if it is due to changes in the reporting system, changes as different analytical methods are introduced or a true rise in cases.

After Salmonella success, focus moves to Campylobacter

"Based on the Danish experience with virtually eradicating Salmonella in broilers and eggs produced in Denmark, researchers, authorities and the industry have joined forces to figure out how we ensure that fewer people fall ill to Campylobacter,"​ said Birgitte Helwigh, senior scientific officer from the National Food Institute.

The report was prepared by the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, with Statens Serum Institut (SSI) and the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA).

A total of 1,074 cases of salmonellosis were reported in 2016, which is an increase compared to 2015 with only 925 cases, but still lower than previous years.

Danish produced pork was estimated to be the most important food source of salmo­nellosis last year (64 cases).

This is in line with 2012-2014, but an increase from last year, where imported pork was the most important food source.

The increase from Danish produced pork can partly be explained by an outbreak of 16 cases. The second most important source was imported broiler meat (43 cases) then imported pork (40 cases).

Around 22 cases were attrib­uted to Danish produced table eggs in 2016 which is in contrast to last year where no cases were linked to them.

Outbreaks in 2016

A total of 49 foodborne outbreaks were reported in 2016, with 1,825 registered cases of which 234 were confirmed in the laboratory.

There was an increase in outbreaks caused by Salmonella and verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC) with 12 from Salmonella compared to three in 2015.

Novovirus was the most frequent cause of foodborne outbreaks (18) and 1,178 people were sickened.

The largest was a national norovirus (NoV) outbreak involving 412 people caused by Lollo Bionda lettuce produced in France.

In 2016, Clostridium perfringens was associated with seven foodborne outbreaks affecting 353 people.

Salami sticks from a Danish company produced in Poland was the suspected source when Swedish health authorities reported a cluster of Salmonella O:4,5,12; H:i:- infections. 12 Danish cases were linked to the outbreak.

Salmonella was detected by Swedish authorities in samples of three opened packages and one unopened pack of the product.

Luise Müller, epidemiologist from SSI, said: "Because foodborne disease outbreaks know no borders, and foods are produced and sold to many countries at the same time, international cooperation is important if we are to find the sources of infection and stop outbreaks in time.”

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