Denmark experienced fewer people diagnosed with foodborne illnesses in 2020 as compared to previous years, according to an annual infections report.
The report was released by the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Statens Serum Institut (SSI), and Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen). It said that Campylobacter continued to be the most common bacterial foodborne illness, with 3,742 confirmed cases in 2020. There were three total outbreaks of Campylobacter reported, including one national and two regional.
For a large outbreak on the island of Bornholm, which involved 161 cases, the most likely cause was a specific brand of pasteurized milk.
Salmonella contributed to 614 laboratory-confirmed human infections, but this was approximately half of the number reported in 2019.
The decrease in numbers was mainly attributed to people doing less traveling in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In total, 35 foodborne outbreaks were reported in 2020, with 1,190 patients. In 2019, 51 outbreaks were reported.
The most common cause of foodborne outbreaks in Denmark previously had been norovirus, but in 2020, pathogens associated with point-source outbreaks, like norovirus, decreased. The decrease was most likely due to general restrictions on gatherings, restaurants being closed, and increased hygiene during the pandemic.