EU salmonella cases are no longer declining year-on-year, according to report by EFSA and the European Centre for Disease Prevention (EDCP).
Salmonella enteritidis – the most widespread form of the infection – accounted for more nearly six in 10 of all EU salmonella cases. Illness is commonly linked to the consumption of poultry meat, eggs or egg-based foodstuffs.
“The increase shown by our surveillance data is worrying and a reminder that we have to stay vigilant,” said Mike Catchpole, ECDP’s chief scientist.
“Even in a state of high awareness and with national control programmes for salmonella enteritidis in place, there is a need for continuing risk management actions at the member state and EU level.”
Salmonella bacteria caused 10 deaths in 2016
Cases of salmonella enteritidis have increased in humans by 3% since 2014, according to the report. Last year alone, there were 94,530 human cases of salmonellosis reported in the EU.
Catchpole called for fresh investigations into public health and food safety, adding these would be “crucial to understand the reasons behind the increase [in salmonella cases].”
The study also found 4,786 outbreaks of food-borne salmonella in 2016, a slight increase compared to two years ago.
However, the report warned people to be vigilant, stating: “Outbreaks due to salmonella are on the rise, with salmonella enteritidis causing one in six food-borne disease outbreaks in 2016.”
Salmonella bacteria was the most common cause of food-borne outbreaks, according to EFSA. It also caused the highest burden on the health service, leading to 10 deaths.
A long-term decrease in salmonella had been a major success story for the EU’s food safety authorities over the past decade.