A Salmonella outbreak in Finland, which affected more than 60 people, has been linked to sprouts.
The National Institute of Health and Welfare (THL) reported that 62 people in different parts of the country became ill from Salmonella Enteritidis in August and October.
In September, it was reported that authorities were investigating an increase in Salmonella Enteritidis infections.
In interviews by local authorities, 23 of 24 people said that they had eaten sprouts before getting sick.
THL surveyed salmonellosis patients in Finland to find out the extent and source of the epidemic. This survey was answered by 16 cases part of the Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak and 11 other controls infected with Salmonella.
People who became infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis had eaten sprouts more often than people who were not part of the outbreak.
Patients had eaten two different sprout products in the seven days before becoming ill. Both products had the same unnamed producer.
Finding a source of the outbreak
A Salmonella outbreak in Näfsby school in Hammarland at the beginning of September was also linked to the national outbreak.
The role of the Finnish Food Authority (Ruokavirasto) and local food control authorities involved tracing potential food sources based on the information from interviews.
The outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis was found in a sprout product from this company, sampled at the home of one of the sick patients. The similarity of strains was established by a method based on whole genome sequencing.
No Salmonella was found in other samples taken from sprout products of the implicated company. Officials said items suspected of being the source of infection are no longer on the market.
The number of Salmonella cases in Finland has decreased in the past ten years. This past year, 666 infections were reported. In 2022, only five domestically acquired Salmonella Enteritidis infections were recorded in August and September.
In 2009, 2016, and 2017, sprouts caused one Salmonella Bovismorbificans and two Salmonella Enteritidis outbreaks. At least 80 people fell ill in these incidents.
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