Salmonella cases fall for fifth year

Cases of salmonella have fallen for the fifth consecutive year, the European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) has announced.

Human salmonella cases were down by 17% during 2009, according to EFSA’s new report, while the number of laying hen flocks infected also fell by 9% over the same period.

However, listeria infections in humans rose by 19% to 1,645 confirmed cases last year and campylobacteriosis, the most reported zoonotic disease [infections that are transmitted directly or indirectly between animals and humans, by consuming contaminated foodstuffs or contact with infected animals] in humans was also up slightly by 4%.

EFSA attributed the salmonella reduction to control measures aimed at bringing the instance of salmonella in poultry egg and chicken meat down.

However, salmonella remained the most frequent cause of food-borne outbreaks with more than 100,000 human cases in 2009.

Listeria can be found in types of ready-to-eat food, such as heat-treated meat products. It has a fatality rate of 17% among those affected, according to the report.

Campylobacteriosis, which can cause diarrhoea and fever, was mostly found in raw poultry meat.

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