More than 90,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella and 150 deaths were reported in Europe in 2017, according to a new report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The latest annual epidemiological report found 92,649 cases were reported, of which 156 were fatal. The United Kingdom recorded 57 of these deaths.

ECDC reported that Salmonellosis remains the second most common zoonosis in Europe and the significant decrease from 2004 to 2013 appears to have levelled off. There were 91,857 cases reported in 2018, according to the annual report of zoonoses published by ECDC and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Country trends
Thirty EU/EEA countries submitted data on salmonellosis for 2017. In five nations, reporting is voluntary — Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Netherlands or based on another system such as in the U.K. Surveillance systems have national coverage except in France, Netherlands and Spain. Population coverage was estimated to be 48 percent in France and 64 percent in the Netherlands.

For 2017, countries reported 94,570 cases, of which 92,649 were confirmed. The number of infections in 2016 was 95,329.

The highest notification rates were in Czech Republic and Slovakia, followed by Hungary and Lithuania. The lowest was Portugal. The largest increase in rates from 2016 to 2017 was in Iceland, Ireland and Portugal.

From 2013 to 2017 increasing trends were observed in Greece, Estonia, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and the U.K. while decreasing trends were seen in Finland, Italy and Germany.

The highest proportions of travel-related cases, ranging from 64 to 76 percent, were reported by Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Among 8,596 travel-associated cases with information on probable country of infection, Thailand, Spain, Turkey and India were the most frequent destinations.

Mostly children affected
The top reporting rate of salmonellosis was among young children 0 to 4 years old. This rate was almost three times higher than in older children and eight times as high as adults 25 to 64 years old. In Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Poland and Portugal, the rate among young children was about 25 to 50 times higher than that among adults 25 to 44 years of age.

“The fact that the salmonellosis rate in young children is eight times higher compared with adults may be explained by a higher proportion of symptomatic infections among young children, an increased likelihood for parents to take children to see a doctor and for doctors to take samples,” said ECDC.

In Cyprus, Greece and Portugal, the proportions of hospitalized cases was very high at 72 to 85 percent, while salmonellosis notification rates were low. This indicates surveillance systems in these countries mainly capture the most severe infections, according to ECDC.

Egg products continue to be the highest risk foods in Salmonella outbreaks. ECDC said proper control measures at the primary production level and sufficient lab capacity is a prerequisite to reduce Salmonella prevalence in food-producing animals.

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