Sweden investigating two Salmonella outbreaks with source unknown

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: iStock
Picture: iStock

Related tags Sweden Salmonella Foodborne illness Foodborne disease outbreaks

Sweden is investigating two Salmonella outbreaks that have infected almost 50 people.

Authorities said they suspect both are foodborne but do not yet know the source.

Since the beginning of May, 13 cases of an unusual Salmonella type (S. Typhimurium MLVA 2-17-N-N-211) have been identified by Folkhälsomyndigheten’s (Public Health Agency's) microbial monitoring program.

The outbreak strain has been found in seven counties in people reported to be infected in Sweden.

The sick people, seven men and six women, are between 10 and 85 years old.

Previous S. Typhimurium outbreaks have been linked to meat and eggs.

S. Bovismorbificans infection

In the second outbreak, around 30 cases of S. Bovismorbificans were reported to Folkhälsomyndigheten.

Infected people are 18 to 80 years old and are geographically spread across the country.

Livsmedelsverket (National Food Agency) said both MLVA 2-17-N-N-211 and S. Bovismorbificans are rare in Sweden.

The total number of Salmonella cases in the country was 2,279 last year.

“Both outbreaks were detected by the National Public Health Agency in their regular surveillance," ​the agency told us.

“The outbreaks are investigated in cooperation between national, regional and local public health and food safety authorities (mainly interviews with cases and searching for possible common food sources).

“In both outbreaks there are cases in several regions, so they must be foodborne. But we don’t the source [and there is] no particular advice to consumers at present.”

The agency confirmed there is no link to a previous outbreak of S. Bovismorbificans in the Netherlands from 2016-2017 linked to undercooked ham.

Other outbreaks have been linked to sprouted alfalfa seeds in Finland almost a decade ago and tahini (sesame seed paste) used in hummus in the US in 2011-2012.

Salmonellosis is a disease caused by the bacteria Salmonella. Onset of symptoms occurs six to 72 hours (usually 12-36 hours) after ingestion of Salmonella and illness lasts two to seven days.

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