Listeria infections have hit record levels in Europe while Salmonella and E. coli cases also went up in 2022, according to the latest figures.

Data comes from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) 2022 One Health Zoonoses report.

The most deaths were associated with listeriosis at 286, with 81 linked to salmonellosis.

Reported cases of campylobacteriosis, the most frequent zoonotic disease, remained stable in 2022 compared to the previous year, with 137,107 cases. There were more than 10,500 hospitalizations and 34 deaths. Chicken meat was the most common source of infection.

The highest country-specific notification rates were in Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Denmark. The lowest were in Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, and Greece. Germany had the most cases, with almost 43,500.

Twenty-four member states and Northern Ireland submitted data on the Campylobacter process hygiene criterion set in EU regulation. Sixteen countries and Northern Ireland reported 7,905 test results from official controls, with 19.4 percent above 1,000 CFU/g. Twenty countries reported 58,372 results from the monitoring of businesses, with 17.5 percent exceeding 1,000 CFU/g. A dozen nations shared results from both samplers, showing the number exceeding the limit was significantly higher in official samples at 22.1 percent than in own checks at 9 percent.

Salmonella stats
Salmonellosis was the second most common disease, with 65,208 cases, compared to 60,169 in 2021. The top EU-acquired serovars were Salmonella Enteritidis, Typhimurium, monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium, Infantis, Newport, and Derby.

The highest notification rates were in Czech Republic and Slovakia, while Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, and Romania reported the lowest. France had the most cases, with 11,162.

Of 4,135 travel-associated cases with information on the probable country of infection, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, and Thailand were the most frequently reported destinations outside the EU. The top infection countries for travel-associated cases in Europe were Spain and Italy.

“The number of reported human cases for the two most common foodborne diseases remains lower than before the pandemic. However, given the impact of these infections on human health, further vigilance and efforts to reduce the number of cases is needed,” said Ole Heuer, head of the section of epidemic-prone diseases at ECDC.

Yersiniosis was third with almost 8,000 cases. This was the most infections in the past 10 years.

E. coli and Listeria data
Next came Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) with more than 7,100 cases and Listeria monocytogenes at 2,738.

STEC caused 1,130 hospitalizations and 28 deaths with infections, up from 6,406 in 2021.

The highest country notification rates were in Ireland, Malta, Sweden, and Denmark, while the lowest were in Portugal, Slovakia, and Poland. Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Lithuania recorded no infections in 2022. Germany had the most cases, with 1,873.

Based on information from 3,374 cases, the top serogroups were O157, O26, O103, and O146.

Spain, Greece, Italy, and Croatia were Europe’s most probable countries of infection. For non-EU nations, Turkey was the main country of infection, followed by Egypt and Morocco.

A total of 562 hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) cases were reported, affecting mainly children aged up to 4, and 20 of them died. The main serogroups were O26, O157, O80, and O145.

Listeria infections caused 1,330 hospitalizations, and cases increased from 2,365 in 2021. It was the biggest number reported since the beginning of EU-level surveillance in 2007.

Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Spain, Slovenia, and Belgium had the highest notification rates. Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, and Romania reported the lowest. Germany had the most patients, with 548.

Czech Republic had 48 cases in 2022 versus 24 in 2021, and Slovakia’s went up to 25 from 13. In Italy, cases increased by 115; in Spain, they increased by 82. Twelve travel-associated infections were reported outside the EU, including in the United Kingdom, the United States, and South Africa.

Deaths increased by 100 from 186 in 2021. France had the most fatal cases with 73, followed by 67 in Spain, 33 in Germany, and 22 in Poland.

Brucella cases increased from 162 to 198, but Trichinella infections dropped from 77 to 41.

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