Public Health England, using whole genome sequencing, has connected 115 cases of Salmonella Agona since 2014 to other European cases, but the source of the outbreak remains elusive.
Most of the S. Agona illnesses in the United Kingdom occurred in the past two years; there have been 53 so far in 2018, with 37 in 2017. The first cases from the specific strain of the bacteria were reported in April 2014.
Denmark, Finland and Ireland are among other European counties where people are infected from the outbreak strain of S. Agona. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) allowed the investigators to match cases from multiple countries. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control says there have been 134 S. Agona cases in four European Union Member States.
The source, according to the ECDC is likely a food or beverage distributed to multiple EU countries.
“The distribution of confirmed cases over different years indicates a continuous common source outbreak,” according to the ECDC. “The seasonal peak in notifications in April and May might indicate that the vehicle of infections is distributed mostly in these months.”
A victim profile was developed based on 129 interviews. The median age is 39 years old and 60 percent are female.
Salmonella Agona is the 10th most common Salmonella serotype responsible for infections according to EU officials. From 2012 to 2016, there were 26 countries in the EU or the European Economic Area that reported 400 to 581 S. Algona cases annually.
The ECDC’s Food and Waterborne Disease team determined the current outbreak is not related to the Lactalis infant formula outbreak that last year sickened 41 infants and toddlers in France, Spain and Greece.
Lactalis is only now recovering from the infant formula outbreak with plans to restart production later this summer.
Public Health England is an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom.
The Solna, Sweden-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control is an independent agency of the European Union whose mission is to strengthen Europe’s defenses against infectious diseases. The Centre was established in 2004.
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