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‘Progress on zoonotic diseases has stalled’

There were only minor fluctuations in reported cases of three main zoonotic diseases in the EU, says EFSA based on the analyses of 2017. “The number of reported cases of salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis has remained stable over the past five years, although listeriosis continues to rise,” concludes EFSA.

Trend stalled

After several years of decline, salmonellosis cases in the EU have flattened out. In 2017 the number fell slightly from 94,425 to 91,662 but the downward trend that began in 2008 has stalled in recent years. This is one of the main findings of the annual report on trends and sources of zoonoses published by theEuropean Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European centre for DiseasePrevention and Control (ECDC). “After years of significant progress in reducing the burden of foodborne illnesses in the EU, especially Salmonella, the situation has now stalled. Increased efforts are needed to push the figures further down,” said EFSA’s chief scientist Marta Hugas.


S. enteritidisis the most commonly reported type of Salmonella in humans, causing one in seven foodborne outbreaks. In the period 2013-2017, the trend of confirmed cases of S. enteritidis in humans was stable and seemed to mirror an analogous trend in laying hens.

The 5,079 foodborne and waterborne outbreaks reported in 2017 represent a 6.8% decrease compared with 2016. Salmonella bacteria were the most common cause of foodborne outbreaks, particularly in meat products and eggs, which caused the highest number of outbreak cases.

Campylobacter and Listeria

Cases of campylobacteriosis decreased slightly in 2017 compared to 2016 (246,158 vs 246,917), but it is still the most commonly reported zoonotic disease in theEU. The highest occurrence was detected in chicken meat (37.4%) and turkey meat (31.5%).

Cases of listeriosis decreased slightly in 2017: 2,480 infections were reported, against 2,509 in 2016. The trend has been upward over the past five years. Overall in the EU, the infection was fatal to one in every 10 patients. The highest levels of L. monocytogenes were detected in fish and fishery products (6%), followed by ready-to-eat salads (4.2%).

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