Chicken products fingered in international Salmonella outbreak

A deadly nine-nation outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka ST413 infections is most likely due to consumption of ready-to-eat (RTE) chicken products and/or fresh chicken meat, such as those used in sandwiches and wraps.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control,  196 cases have been reported in nine countries, including seven member states of the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom (UK), and Israel since November 8, 2022.

Nineteen outbreak victims have been hospitalized, five of them with septicemia.

One person–a resident of the UK–has died.

Outbreak cases have been reported by the following countries:

  • Czechia (Czech Republic): 5 (none confirmed as yet)
  • Estonia: 3 (all confirmed)
  • Finland: 89 (42 confirmed and 47 possible)
  • France: 10 (all confirmed)
  • Germany: 2 (all confirmed)
  • Ireland: 1 (all confirmed)
  • Netherlands: 1 (all confirmed)
  • Israel: 4 (none confirmed as yet)
  • United Kingdom: 81 (all confirmed)

The UK was the first country to detect the outbreak, reporting a cluster of 31 cases from England (25), Scotland (3) and Wales (3) on May 20, 2022. Sample collection dates ranged between September 24, 2021 and April 23, 2022. Four of the patients were hospitalized, and one has died.

Finland followed on the UK’s heels with a report of nine cases on June 16, 2022.

The Finnish food safety authority has linked suspect products to an Estonian company, but this link could not be verified by traceback identification or microbiological analysis.

The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) is encouraging its member countries to sequence the genomes of Salmonella Mbandaka isolated from human sources and to interview those patients whose isolates match the outbreak strain.

Salmonella Mbandaka was first reported in 1948 in the Belgian Congo, where it was recovered from a patient suffering from salmonellosis.

The ST413 strain entered the Polish feed and poultry sector in the 1990s, and has been circulating in Poland and other EU countries since then.

The ECDC warns that new cases are likely to occur until the source of the outbreak has been identified and controlled.

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