Officials in Finland are trying to find the source of a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened almost 30 people.

Between March and July, 27 people in different parts of Finland have fallen ill with Salmonella Mbandaka infections.

Twenty patients are women. Their average age is 30 years old and the age range is from less than 1 to 74 years old.

Interviews with those who were ill revealed that 17 of 20 had eaten outside the home before becoming sick, said the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). 

The Finnish Food Authority (Ruokavirasto) and local food control authorities are tracing potential sources based on information given in the interviews.

Overall the number of Salmonella cases has decreased in the past 10 years in Finland. In 2021, under 500 non-outbreak cases were reported.

A total of 46 foodborne outbreaks were reported this past year affecting 1,378 people compared to 34 with 543 people sick in 2020.

A major Salmonella outbreak affected more than 700 people. The implicated food was a salad with iceberg lettuce, cucumber and peas served in several kindergartens. Overall, seven Salmonella outbreaks sickened 824 people compared to three outbreaks with 21 sick in 2020.

About Salmonella

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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