There was a decline in most causes of foodborne illness, plus 25 outbreaks were reported in 2019, according to data released by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).
The zoonoses report is published by the FSAI, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Health Service Executive (HSE), Local Authority Veterinary Service (LAVS), Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).
The HPSC has published more recent figures on infectious diseases but not for outbreaks.
Campylobacter remained the most common bacterial cause of gastroenteritis in Ireland. There were 2,777 cases reported in 2019. HPSC data shows 2,432 cases in 2020 and 3,154 in 2021.
A total of 58 routine and 119 suspect food samples were tested for Campylobacter in 2019 and it was detected in four routine meat samples.
Salmonella and high E. coli rate
There were 355 reported cases of salmonellosis. The top serotypes were Salmonella Enteritidis and Salmonella Typhimurium, including the monophasic variant. In 2020, infections fell to 219 and dropped again in 2021 to 173.
Salmonella was detected in 35 of 2,376 routine meat samples, according to the 2019 zoonoses report. Of these, 25 were samples of unspecified RTE status and 10 were raw meat samples. Of the 184 suspect meat samples taken in 2019, two of ready-to-eat meat were positive for Salmonella.
A total of 34 of 10,055 breeding, parent, fattening, laying hens and commercial poultry flocks were positive for Salmonella. Of 3,098 suspect cattle samples tested, 98 were positive.
In 2019, there were 873 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) reports. The incidence rate in Ireland is generally high compared to other European countries, according to the report. For many years, Ireland has recorded the highest STEC rate of any member state, reporting more than eight times the EU average in 2019. In 2020, 826 STEC cases were recorded and there were 975 infections in 2021.
Of 2,620 meat samples tested for STEC in 2019, nine of 2,562 routine samples were positive.
Eighteen cases of listeriosis were notified compared to six in 2020 and 16 in 2021.
In 2019, of 2,599 tests on 2,380 routine and 219 suspect food samples, 113 samples of RTE, raw and cooked products were positive for Listeria monocytogenes.
In 2019, 605 cases of cryptosporidiosis were reported compared to 512 in 2020 and 845 in 2021. There were 47 toxoplasmosis notifications in 2019, 21 in 2020 and 20 in 2021. From 842 suspect animal samples tested in 2019, 288 were positive for Toxoplasma gondii.
Nine cases of yersinosis were reported in humans in 2019, 13 in 2020 and 19 in 2021. Of 6,987 suspect private and industry samples from animals tested, nine were positive for Yersinia in 2019.
In 2019, 25 food and waterborne outbreaks were reported affecting 193 people, with 14 linked to tap or well water.
They were all categorized as weak evidence. Outbreaks are classed as strong or weak based on an assessment of the evidence linking the suspect food to illnesses and exposure.
Six people were hospitalized and no deaths were recorded. The largest was caused by norovirus and affected 55 people due to contaminated water. STEC was linked to 11 outbreaks, Salmonella to four and Campylobacter to one.
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