In the news


WGS data used for surveillance of Campylobacter infections resulted in the detection of a large continuous outbreak, Denmark, 2019

Human campylobacteriosis is the most commonly reported zoonotic disease in Europe, with 246,571 reported cases in the European Union (EU) in 2018. Denmark had 5,389 cases in 2019. The surveillance found that 33% of chicken meat samples were positive for Campylobacter at slaughter. Campylobacter infections are predominantly food-borne, with poultry as the primary source. WGS-based surveillance of clinical cases and chicken samples improved our understanding of the occurrence and dynamics of Campylobacter strains in chicken meat and the correlation to clusters of human cases. The surveillance showed that numerous Campylobacter infections were not sporadic but rather part of a more significant outbreak. A significant impact of the 2019 surveillance showed that the apparent association of a substantial proportion of the human Campylobacter cases to the Danish chicken production had increased the poultry industry’s awareness. The large outbreak of Campylobacter has led to extensive initiatives and investments targeting Campylobacter throughout the production chain. The new knowledge and awareness could lead to a decrease in the Danish chicken-associated human cases of campylobacteriosis in the coming years. @

Campylobacter is one of the most frequent causes of bacterial gastroenteritis. Campylobacter outbreaks are rarely reported, which could be a reflection of a surveillance without routine molecular typing. We have previously shown that numerous small outbreak-like clusters can be detected when whole genome sequencing (WGS) data of clinical Campylobacter isolates was applied.
Typing-based surveillance of Campylobacter infections was initiated in 2019 to enable detection of large clusters of clinical isolates and to match them to concurrent retail chicken isolates in order to react on ongoing outbreaks.
We performed WGS continuously on isolates from cases (n = 701) and chicken meat (n = 164) throughout 2019. Core genome multilocus sequence typing was used to detect clusters of clinical isolates and match them to isolates from chicken meat.
Seventy-two clusters were detected, 58 small clusters (2–4 cases) and 14 large clusters (5–91 cases). One third of the clinical isolates matched isolates from chicken meat. One large cluster persisted throughout the whole year and represented 12% of all studied Campylobacter cases. This cluster type was detected in several chicken samples and was traced back to one slaughterhouse, where interventions were implemented to control the outbreak.
Our WGS-based surveillance has contributed to an improved understanding of the dynamics of the occurrence of Campylobacter strains in chicken meat and the correlation to clusters of human cases.


In Canada, Natural Balance dry cat food recalled due to Salmonella Contamination

Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc. (San Diego, CA) recalled two (Natural Balance Green Pea & Chicken Dry Cat Formula (15 lb bag) and Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets® Green Pea & Chicken Formula Dry Cat Food- 5 LB Bag) of its dry cat food products from the US market on May 20, 2021. The products were recalled due to Salmonella. The same products are now being recalled from the Canadian market. The company reported that 378 units of the affected product were sold in Canada. As of June 2, 2021, the company has not received any reports of illness, complaints, or injuries in Canada. The recalled cat formula may be contaminated with Salmonella, and there is a risk of cross-contamination and illness after handling the cat formula. @



FSA updated the status of the melon outbreak due to Salmonella

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Public Health England (PHE) investigated an outbreak of Salmonella in the UK. The outbreak source is thought to be whole honeydew, cantaloupe, and galia melons originating from Costa Rica or Honduras bought on or before 28 May 2021. The initial report identified 52 ill people in the UK. The numbers have currently increased to 99. Many UK retailers may have stocked the affected melons, which have now been removed from sale. The alert issued on 29 May 2021 had also included advice about whole honeydew, cantaloupe, and galia melons from Brazil. However, further investigation shows that melons from Brazil are not likely to be affected. The melons also caused 356 illnesses in Europe (Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland). @

The FSA is advising consumers not to eat specific melons which may be contaminated with salmonella.


Increased antimicrobial-resistant in Salmonella Infections, United States, 2004–2016

The CDC analysis indicates that the incidence of resistant Salmonella infections was higher in 2015–2016 than in earlier periods during 2004–2014. They estimated a 40% increase in annual infections of Salmonella resistant to ampicillin or ceftriaxone or nonsusceptibility to ciprofloxacin. During 2015-2016.There were ~ 222,000 infections in 2015-2016 vs ~159,000 in 2004-2005. Ciprofloxacin-resistant infection accounted for more than ½ of the increase. Serotype Enteritidis contributed the most to this increase. Chicken and eggs have been the main domestic sources of Enteritidis infections. In the United States, ciprofloxacin-nonsusceptible strains of Enteritidis and other serotypes have been isolated from imported seafood. Plasmid-mediated quinolone-resistance genes have been detected among ciprofloxacin-nonsusceptible isolates in the United States. These genes might contribute to the spread of fluoroquinolone nonsusceptibility. Estimates of changes in resistance incidence can help identify trends of greatest concern to set priorities for prevention.  @