The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control recently published findings in EFSA Journal that showed that the number of people getting sick and dying in foodborne outbreaks in Europe went up in 2019. These findings were based on figures from the annual report on zoonoses, a disease that can be transmitted to humans from animals. This report was generated as a response to the Zoonoses Directive 2003/99/EC1, which obliges EU Member States to collect relevant and, when applicable, comparable data on zoonoses, zoonotic agents, antimicrobial resistance, and foodborne outbreaks.

The numbers of confirmed human cases of 13 zoonoses are presented in this report, which increased from 2018. During 2019, 27 Member States reported a total of 5,175 foodborne outbreaks. Breaking it down, this included 49,463 illnesses, 3,859 hospitalizations, and 60 deaths. In total, there were 522 outbreaks, 2,454 cases, and 531 hospitalizations annually, taking an average of the past five years. Severity of the diseases was analyzed based on hospitalization and outcomes of the reported cases.

The most popular reported zooneses were campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis, respectively. In 2019, campylobacteriosis was the most commonly reported zoonosis, as it has been since 2005, representing 50 percent of all the reported cases. The proportion of human salmonellosis cases due to Salmonella Enteritidis acquired in the EU was similar to the numbers reported from 2017–2018. Salmonella remained the most detected agent overall, but the number of outbreaks due to S. Enteritidis decreased.

Of the 26 Member States that reported on Salmonella control programs in poultry, 18 met the reduction targets, and 8 failed to meet at least one. 

Escherichia coli infection was the third-most reported zoonosis in humans, and increased from 2015 to 2019. The fourth most reported zoonosis in humans in 2019 was yersiniosis. Norovirus in fish and fishery products was the agent/food pair causing the highest number of strong-evidence outbreaks.

The EU trend of confirmed listeriosis cases remained stable in 2015–2019 after a long period of increase. Listeria rarely exceeded the EU food safety limit tested in ready-to-eat food. In total, 5,175 foodborne outbreaks were reported. The report provides further updates on bovine tuberculosis, Brucella, Trichinella, Echinococcus, Toxoplasma, rabies, West Nile virus, Coxiella burnetii (Q fever), and tularemia.