Argentinian officials have confirmed leptospirosis and Salmonella in an outbreak that has killed two people.

Authorities in Buenos Aires reported that four adults were hospitalized in the city of Berazategui in early 2023. Salmonella and Shigella were detected in the fatal cases and in one patient it was Salmonella Typhimurium. Leptospirosis was also confirmed in two cases under investigation.

The deaths were in two men aged 48 and 36. A 40-year-old patient was discharged from the hospital at the end of January while a 47-year-old is recovering.

Initial investigations found all patients had a recent history of eating meat and meat products such as offal. Authorities said this led them to suspect a common food as the source of the outbreak.

In two cases, there was a link to a butcher shop. However, testing of seized products was negative for Salmonella, E. coli, and Shigella. For another patient, one food sample was positive for Salmonella.

Samples were sent for analysis to the National Food Safety and Quality Service (SENASA) and National Food Institute (INAL). Authorities in Berazategui also closed one butcher shop because of hygiene problems.

Bacteria that cause leptospirosis are spread through the urine of infected animals, which can get into water or soil and survive for weeks to months. People can get infected by consuming contaminated food or water.

Official control findings
Meanwhile, national Argentinian officials have reported results of several controls on fruit and meat.

On two occasions, officers seized kiwis transported in trucks without supporting health documentation showing prior quarantine treatment for fruit flies.

In another operation in February, SENASA helped to seize sausages and other items in the district of Bella Vista. Officials said the products were unfit for consumption and put public health at risk, so they were destroyed.

Officials found an unrefrigerated van transporting 400 kilograms (882,000 pounds) of fresh sausages, 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of fish, and containers of dairy products, without sanitary certification and violating the cold chain.

Also, authorities stopped the sale of 900 kilograms (1,980 pounds) of meat transported in another van without refrigeration equipment. A lack of documents meant the meat was confiscated and destroyed. The driver was heading to Villa Manzano, in the province of Río Negro, and could be criminally charged for public health violations.

Finally, almost 6,000 kilograms (13,200 pounds) of shellfish were blocked after a routine inspection due to missing documentation and irregularities during transport. Products came from the city of San Antonio Oeste and we’re going to Buenos Aires.

Further checks revealed most of the consignment was safe but 1,800 kilograms (3,970 pounds) of oysters lacked identifying labels and supporting documentation. Because of this, officials confiscated and destroyed the whole shipment.

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