martes, 25 de septiembre de 2012

Officials Tracking Outbreak of Rare Salmonella Strain in Seven EU States

Turkey suspected as source of bacteria

European Union health officials are investigating an ongoing outbreak of Salmonella Stanley that has sickened over 400 people in seven member countries. While S. Stanley infections are rare outside of Southeast Asia and usually appear only among those who have traveled there, this outbreak is thought to have originated in poultry - probably turkey - produced in Europe. 

The first cases associated with this outbreak occurred in Hungary in August of 2011, but the outbreak was not detected until June 2012, when health officials were alerted to the fact that an unusually high number of S. Stanley infections had been reported in Belgium. Since that time, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovak Republic and the United Kingdom have all reported cases of S. Stanley with a DNA fingerprint indistinguishable from the strain being tracked in Belgium. 

In most affected countries, the outbreak is thought to have begun in January of 2012, when a spike in S. Stanley infections was noted. The most recent case was reported on September 18. 

To date, 167 cases have been confirmed as part of the outbreak and a further 254 cases are considered probable. The highest rate of illnesses has been in children under the age of five. 

According to the outbreak report - issued by the EFSA and CDC - cases of the same strain of S. Stanley are still being reported and the outbreak is considered ongoing. 

While officials do not know the exact source of the bacteria, they suspect that it came from somewhere in the European turkey production chain. The outbreak strain has been found among turkey flocks and in turkey meat in eight EU member countries, including six where outbreak-related illnesses have occurred. However, some isolates of S. Stanley with a DNA fingerprint indistinguishable from the outbreak strain have also been found in samples from beef, chicken flocks, minced pork and beef, and even dogs, cats, peppermint and seagull, leading investigators to conclude that "contribution of other food and animal sources, such as beef, pork and broiler meat to the outbreak cannot be ruled out." 

Travel to Southeast Asia, however, has been ruled out as a source of the bacteria, since no victims have reported visiting that region prior to illness. 

All isolates of the bacteria found in the EU the turkey production chain have been shown to be resistant to nalidixic acid, an antibiotic used to treat severe Salmonella infections 

Source: Food Safety News
Aporte: Eduardo Castillo Franzoy

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