A rare type of Salmonella has infected 16 people in Norway with the majority needing hospital treatment.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Folkehelseinstituttet) reported that the Salmonella Blockley outbreak had affected people living in several counties in the country.
The source of infection is unknown, so an investigation has been started with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Mattilsynet) and the Norwegian Veterinary Institute.
People have fallen sick from the end of November 2021 up to the first week of January 2022. They are aged 1 to 80, and 11 of them are women.
Five ill people live in Trøndelag, three each in Viken and Troms og Finnmark, two in Nordland and Vestland and one in Rogaland.
Likely less severe cases not being found
Bacteria with the same genetic profile has been detected in 12 of 16 patients which means they were likely infected from the same source.
Salmonella Blockley is a rare type in Europe. It has previously been recorded in Norway but only as individual cases.
Officials believe the fact that a dozen people have been hospitalized is more to do with milder cases not being detected rather than this type of Salmonella being especially dangerous.
Outbreaks of Salmonella are rare in Norway and usually caused by imported foods.
Heidi Lange, from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, said it was too early to say whether the outbreak would increase in scope and whether the source of infection will be found.
“Since they live or have lived in different counties, it is likely that people are infected through food that is distributed throughout the country. Patients are now being interviewed to find out if they have a common source of infection,” she said.
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.
Anyone who has developed symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.
Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions. Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.
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