Last week, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released data from a jointly produced report revealing that cases of Salmonella Enteritidis acquired in the EU have increased in humans by 3 percent since 2014. Also since then, EU has seen an increase in the bacteria in laying eggs, too, with prevalence increasing from 0.7 percent to 1.21 percent.

There were 94,530 human cases of salmonellosis reported in the EU in 2016. S.Enteritidis – the most widespread type of Salmonella, accounted for 59% of all salmonellosis cases originating in the EU and is mostly associated with the consumption of eggs, egg products and poultry meat.

“The increase shown by our surveillance data is worrying and a reminder that we have to stay vigilant,” says Mike Catchpole, ECDC’s chief scientist. “Even in a state of high awareness and with national control programs for S. Enteritidis in place, there is a need for continuing risk management actions at the Member State and EU level,”

“The decrease of Salmonella has been a success story in the EU food safety system in the last 10 years. Recent S. Enteritidis outbreaks contributed to a change in this trend in humans and poultry. Further investigations by competent authorities in the field of public health and food safety will be crucial to understand the reasons behind the increase,” says Marta Hugas, EFSA’s chief scientist.

The EFSA-ECDC report on trends and sources of zoonoses is based on 2016 data collected from all the 28 European Union Member States. Nine other European countries reported on some of the zoonotic agents (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).

Salmonella Enteritidis is the Salmonella serotype responsible for most salmonellosis cases and Salmonella foodborne outbreaks. It had been declining constantly since 2007 when the EU surveillance began and control measures in poultry were implemented. Data related to S. Enteritidis in this news announcement does not include cases associated with travel outside the EU.

EFSA's full press release

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