Swedish officials are investigating a recent increase in reported cases of Cryptosporidium.

A total of 61 people have been confirmed as being infected by the same certain type of Cryptosporidium parvum. These people fell ill from Sept. 25 to Oct. 10 and live in 10 different regions of the country.

Of confirmed cases, 41 are women and 20 are men. They are aged between 11 and 86 years old with an average age of 44.

There are another 98 possible infections that have been reported within the same period and some of these may also belong to the outbreak.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten) said the increase is under investigation but could be caused by food with wide distribution in the country.

Local infection control units, the Swedish Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) and Folkhälsomyndigheten are investigating the outbreak to identify the source of infection.

Cryptosporidium is a parasite that, if ingested, can cause cryptosporidiosis. Transmission occurs mainly through contact with contaminated water but can be via food or exposure to infected animals or water contaminated by the feces of infected animals.

The main symptom is watery diarrhea, which can range from mild to severe. It is often accompanied by stomach pain, nausea or vomiting, fever, and sometimes dehydration and weight loss. Symptoms usually appear two to 10 days after infection and last one to two weeks.

Salmonella outbreak looks to be ending
Meanwhile, a Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak has grown again with 84 people now affected, up from the 54 cases in mid-October.

The ill people fell sick between Sept. 17 and Oct. 6. They live in 20 of the country’s 21 regions.

Patients are between the ages of 4 to 87 with an average age of 48 years old. The majority are women with 52 cases.

Cases have been connected by whole genome sequencing of patient samples. This means they are suspected of having been infected by a common source.

Officials reported that the number of suspected and confirmed infections has decreased in recent days, indicating the outbreak is coming to an end. This, as well as the rapid start of the incident and wide geographic distribution of cases, means fresh food with a limited shelf life is suspected of having been the cause.

Work to identify a specific source is ongoing between regional infection control units, the Swedish Food Agency, and the Public Health Agency of Sweden.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)