Austrian authorities are investigating an increase in cases of Salmonella Coeln.

In August and September, cases caused by the pathogen Salmonella Coeln cluster type (CT) 1768 occurred in several Austrian provinces.

The Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) said the accumulation of infections indicates a possible transmission through food but there is currently no indication as to the source of the outbreak.

This year, 72 cases of Salmonella Coeln, all strains including CT1768, were confirmed at AGES’ National Reference Center for Salmonella until the end of November. This compares to 52 in the whole of 2017; 32 in 2016; and 21 in 2015.

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AGES is investigating the suspected foodborne outbreak with the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection (BMASGK) and state authorities.

In 2017, there were 4,728 samples tested for Salmonella as part of the control and sample plan, as well as in targeted campaigns, according to the 2017 zoonoses and zoonotic agents in Austria report.

Salmonella Coeln was found twice in raw turkey meat samples examined.

Last year, 1,672 lab-confirmed Salmonella cases were reported to the Epidemiological Reporting System (EMS) in Austria. Salmonellosis cases increased in 2017 and this could mainly be attributed to an increase in cases of serovar Salmonella Enteritidis.

This means Salmonella was the second most common cause of bacterial food poisoning, behind Campylobacter. A total of 7,201 lab-confirmed campylobacteriosis cases were notified to the EMS last year.

Also, a total of 32 cases of invasive listeriosis and six deaths were notified to the EMS and the figure was 250 for laboratory-confirmed verotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC) cases. VTEC is also known as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC).

In Europe, Salmonella Coeln has increased 33.5 percent in two years and entered the top 20 list of most commonly reported Salmonella serovars in 2017. A total of 265 cases were reported by 22 member states last year compared to 139 cases in 2016 and 200 in 2015.

A nationwide outbreak of Salmonella Coeln in Norway, including 26 cases identified between October 2013 and January 2014 was linked to imported, mixed, pre-washed and bagged salad.

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