The number of foodborne outbreaks in Austria was stable in 2021, but more people were sick there compared to the previous year, according to recently released statistics.
The Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) reported 20 outbreaks last year, compared to 21 in 2020. However, 92 people were affected in 2021 and 67 in 2020.
A total of 27 people required hospitalization in 2021 compared to 17 in 2020 and there were two deaths compared to one in 2020.
Salmonella was the most common agent with nine outbreaks and 61 cases. The second was Campylobacter with six outbreaks and 12 patients, followed by four outbreaks of E. Shiga toxin-producing coli (STEC) with 14 cases, and one due to Listeria monocytogenes with five people sick and two deaths.
The largest outbreak was caused by monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium, in which 31 people fell ill and 10 required hospitalization. A connection to various meals in a restaurant and animals in the adjoining petting zoo has been established.
One incident was part of an international outbreak caused by Salmonella Braenderup in Galia melons from Honduras. In Austria, 11 people were affected and seven were hospitalized.
Two deaths in Listeria outbreak
During the listeriosis epidemic, five people were infected after consuming meat products from a slaughterhouse and two of them died.
A two-person outbreak was caused by Campylobacter jejuni. The contaminated food was uncooked chicken meat from another European country.
Three foci were acquired abroad, two by Salmonella Enteritidis, one after a stay in Romania but the other was unknown, and one by STEC after a trip to Turkey.
Epidemics in which only members of the same household are affected are classified as household epidemics. In 2021, 75% of all epidemics were classified as domestic epidemics.
The number of outbreaks is still far below the 48 reported in 2019 when 793 people were sick with 159 hospitalizations and 52 in 2018 with 222 related illnesses and 58 hospitalizations.
It was previously reported that the number of human isolates sent to the National Reference Center for Salmonella had increased from 906 in 2020 to 1,048 in 2021.
A total of 6,019 cases of campylobacteriosis have been reported in Austria and 36 cases of invasive listeriosis have been recorded and seven people died within 28 days of diagnosis.
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