Campylobacter Rates Stabilise Across Europe

Human Infections From Food Poisoning Bug Stabilise For First Time In Five Years

02.02.2015

Rates for campylobacter, the most common cause of food poisoning in humans, have stabilised in Europe for the first time in five years, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reported this week.

The EFSA found that cases in 2013, the most recently recorded year, remained at the same level as in 2012 which was in turn lower than the year before.

However, the bug is still responsible for well over double the infection rates of salmonella. There were 214,779 cases of campylobacter reported in 2013 resulting in six in every 10,000 people being affected. There were 84,000 cases of salmonella in the same year.

The report found that 43% of cases resulted in hospitalisation, but there was a comparatively low mortality rate at 0.5%, resulting in 56 deaths. Salmonella, on the other hand, had a much higher mortality rate, causing 59 deaths.

Campylobacter bacteria are usually found on raw or undercooked meat, particularly poultry. Untreated water and unpasteurised milk can also carry the bacteria.

Martin Hugas, Head of EFSAS’s Risk Assessment and Scientific Assistance Department said: “The stabilisation of campylobacteriosis cases is good news, but we should not lower our guard.”

Expert Opinion
The report from the EFSA on the rates of campylobacter infections is positive and indicates the work done to reduce the impact of the bacterium within the food industry. Through our work, we have seen first-hand the long term health implications that bacteria such as campylobacter can cause.

“Therefore, it is vital further work is carried out in a bid to reduce the number of campylobacter infections recorded in Europe. Consumers place huge faith in food retailers and manufacturers when it comes to ensuring the products they buy are safe for consumption.

“In the UK, a number of campylobacter cases have been linked with supermarket chicken products and it is vital more stringent guidance and food hygiene is implemented and followed to reduce the illnesses caused by campylobacter.”
Amandeep Dhillon, Partner