GLOBAL – In a concerning development, almost 150 cases of Salmonella Strathcona have been reported across 11 countries, including the United States.
Since January 2023, the outbreak has affected individuals in Germany (47 cases), Italy (34 cases), Austria (17 cases), the Czech Republic (13 cases), the United Kingdom (13 cases), and other European nations.
The outbreak is associated with Salmonella Strathcona, a rare serotype in Europe. Most cases occurred between August and October 2023.
A teleconference involving experts from the European Union countries, the UK, and the United States took place to discuss ongoing investigations.
Interviews with affected individuals revealed a commonality in the consumption of fresh tomatoes before the onset of the disease. Eggs and cheese were also reported as consumed by several cases.
Salmonella Strathcona has been linked to previous outbreaks, indicating a re-emerging seasonal pattern. The current isolates are genetically closely related to cases reported since 2011, suggesting a common infection source.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) highlighted that microbiological evidence points to a common source, with tomatoes being a plausible hypothesis.
However, further investigation is required to confirm this hypothesis. The ECDC emphasized the ongoing risk of new infections as long as seasonal deliveries of contaminated produce continue.
Identifying, tracing back, and implementing control measures for the contaminated vehicle are crucial to preventing future outbreaks.
Similar cases were reported in Denmark in September 2011 affecting 43 people. Additionally, 28 cases were reported from Germany, Italy, Austria and Belgium. The results of the investigation in Denmark showed that 8/10 cases had bought datterino tomatoes prior to disease onset.
Traceback investigation showed that the tomatoes came from an Italian producer.