A Salmonella outbreak in Denmark has now affected 40 people with ground meat suspected as the source.

In less than a month, at least 40 people have been infected with the same type of Salmonella, said the Statens Serum Institut (SSI). It was previously reported that 12 people were sick in the Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak.

Patients are 24 men and 16 women aged between less than 1 year old and 83 years old, with a median age of 36.

The SSI, Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen), and DTU Food Institute continue investigating the outbreak.

Suspicion falls on meat sold at retail
Officials said the fact that patients live in different regions suggests the source is food sold in supermarkets across the country.

“Although we do not yet know what has made people sick with Salmonella, we want consumers to pay extra attention to good kitchen hygiene. It is important to cook ground (minced) meat thoroughly, keep ready-to-eat items separate from the raw meat, and not to taste raw meat,” said Annette Perge from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.

Investigations so far show that patients have not been traveling before illness, have not eaten at the same restaurants and have not taken part in any joint events.

SSI is performing whole genome sequencing of patients’ Salmonella isolates and interviewing patients or their relatives to help identify the source of infection.

Whole genome sequencing of bacteria isolated from patients revealed samples were closely related, and all belonged to sequence type 19.

In 2022, 899 Salmonella cases were recorded in Denmark, which was up from 2021 and 2020 but down from 2019. Salmonella caused 11 outbreaks in 2022, with three of them part of international incidents. 

About Salmonella
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has developed symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.

Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions. Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.

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