Campylobacter and shiga toxin/verotoxin-producing E. coli infections increased over a four year period according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
Campylobacteriosis and shiga toxin/verotoxin-producing E. coli (STEC/VTEC) infection showed an increasing trend over the surveillance period, while salmonellosis, shigellosis and yersiniosis showed a declining trend between 2006 and 2007 and 2009.
It also found Listeriosis had a fatality rate ranging from 17% to 20% between 2007 and 2009, unlike other diseases which had rates below 1%.
The food and waterborne disease report focuses on salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, STEC/VTEC infection, listeriosis, yersiniosis and shigellosis from 2006 to 2009.
Reporting of campylobacteriosis increased by 13%, with over 201,605 cases reported in the EU/EEA in 2009, representing a rate of 47 per 100,000 population.
However, six countries suggested a constantly decreasing trend while the opposite was detected in eight countries.
The highest burden of campylobacteriosis cases in 2006–09 in the 26 EU and two EEA countries was recorded in Germany, accounting for 32% of all reported cases, followed by the UK with 30% and the Czech Republic with 11%.
For STEC/VTEC infection, the increase was 9%, with 3,698 cases reported in 2009. Between 2007 and 2009, most (79%) of the STEC/VTEC infections were of domestic origin.
The reported STEC/VTEC cases were most commonly of serotypes O157:H7, O157:H-, O103:H2, and O26:H11.
Serotype O157:H7 accounted for almost 50% of all reported cases, and with serotype O157:H-,about the percentage was 65%, making O157:H7/O157:H- the most dominant serotypes in 2007–09 due to the focus on the detection of serogroup O157.
Several foodborne outbreaks of STEC/VTEC (fewer than 10 cases) were reported in the EU/EEA and the number of cases in these outbreaks varied from 4% to 22% of STEC/VTEC cases reported annually.
Drop for Salmonella
Salmonellosis cases dropped by 53,854 between 2006 and 2009, representing a reduction of 33%, with 109,893 cases reported in 2009. The decrease was particularly noticeable in cases with Salmonella Enteritidis infection, which dropped by 44% during the four-year period.
Despite the decreasing trend, several foodborne outbreaks due to Salmonella infection were detected and investigated.
Salmonella infections were mostly acquired in the EU/EEA (86% of all cases), suggesting a continued circulation of Salmonella bacteria in EU/EEA countries.
The number of reported foodborne outbreaks caused by Salmonella in the EU/EEA decreased with a lower number of outbreaks caused by egg and egg products, bakery, mixed food and different meats.
Shigellosis cases dropped by 13% between 2007 and 2009, with 1,119 fewer cases reported in 2009 compared with 2007. The notification rate of shigellosis cases was 1.63 per 100,000 population, with 7,621 reported cases in 2009.
Shigellosis is not endemic in the EU/EEA countries, and two thirds of the cases between 2007 and 2009 were imported from countries outside the EU/EEA.
Foodborne shigellosis outbreaks have been recorded regularly in the EU/EEA, mainly linked to imported fresh foods and infected food handlers.
Yersiniosis reports decreased by 16%, and 1,433 fewer cases were reported in 2009 compared with 2006.
The notification rate was 1.77 cases per 100 000 population, with 7,638 cases reported in the EU/EEA in 2009. Yersinia infections are almost entirely of domestic origin, with 97% of cases reported as domestically acquired.
Pigs and pork are considered to be the primary reservoir for the human pathogenic types of Y. enterocolitica as the bacterium is regularly detected in pigs.
Other possible sources of Yersinia infection are contaminated raw vegetables, fruit or other foodstuffs, or direct contact with infected animals.
Y. pseudotuberculosis is mainly detected in wild animals and contaminated raw vegetables.
Listeria trend stable
The trend of listeriosis remained stable in the EU/EEA during the four-year-period with 1, 638 listeriosis cases reported in 2009, representing a rate 0.38 cases per 100,000 population.
Reported human listeriosis cases in 2007–09 were most frequently associated with serotypes 4b, 1/2a, and 1/2b.
In 2006–09, L. monocytogenes was most commonly isolated from soft and semi-soft cheeses, RTE fishery and RTE meat products among single samples collected at retail in EU Member States.
A number of food investigations in Member States found L. monocytogenes in other RTE products, such as salads, sandwiches, sauces and soups, but levels above 100 cfu/g were rare.