According to recently released data, the number of outbreaks and people sick in them increased in Austria in 2022.

28 foodborne outbreaks were reported in 2022, eight more than in 2021. In these outbreaks, 128 people were affected, which is more than the 92 cases in 2021.

Overall, 57 people had to be hospitalized in connection with incidents in 2022, and there were four deaths. They affected between two and 30 people.

Salmonella tops the table
Salmonella was the most common agent, with 80 patients in 11 outbreaks. In second, was Campylobacter with eight episodes and 17 patients, followed by five outbreaks of Listeria monocytogenes that sickened 17 people. All of them were hospitalized, and four died.

Two norovirus outbreaks affected ten people and one each of E. coli and Shigella sonnei, with two patients reported.

The Ferrero chocolate monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak sickened 14 people in Austria, and five were hospitalized.

Another Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak, but with a different sequence type, affected 30 people in Austria. Ten of them had to be hospitalized, and the contaminated food was suspected to be chocolate.

One Listeria outbreak caused five infections, and two people died. It started in 2020 with three people falling sick and one death, and in 2021 two people were affected, and one died. Infections were caused by eating contaminated dairy products. A country-wide product recall and production in the implicated milk processing plant of Käserei Gloggnitz was stopped.

Another outbreak included three people, who were all hospitalized. The food vehicle was contaminated bacon.

Two outbreaks were acquired abroad, one due to Campylobacter after a stay in Ecuador and another by Shigella sonnei after travel to India.

Control results
Austrian authorities have also published results of several recent controls. One covered the implementation of hygiene requirements and verification of self-checks in approved high-risk establishments that process food of animal origin.

A total of 1,648 samples were taken from 192 companies as part of the campaign in 2022. Of these samples, 1,347 were environmental tests. Those sampled were 99 dairy, 60 meat and 33 fish businesses.

A total of 301 food samples from across the country were examined with six non-compliances. Five of 198 milk samples were problematic. One time each because of E. coli, coagulase-positive staphylococci and histamine content. Two samples had misleading information on shelf life.

One of 36 fish samples was rejected because of Listeria monocytogenes. All 67 meat samples were satisfactory.

In the environmental analysis, Listeria monocytogenes was detected in 41 samples and Listeria species in 74 samples.

Food and environmental samples were tested for Listeria at 156 companies. It was detected in environmental samples from 35 sites. In three of these establishments, there were also indications of Listeria in food samples. Of the 121 sites where no Listeria was detected in environmental samples, there were three plants with signs of the pathogen in food samples taken from the same site.

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