Salmonella sickens up to 50 in Denmark and Sweden; food source suspected

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Danish authorities are investigating Salmonella Braenderup infections that are related to an outbreak in Sweden. In Denmark, 24 people have fallen sick since late March while in Sweden, there are 22 confirmed patients since mid-April.

An international outbreak investigation is ongoing and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is helping with cross-border coordination.

Between March 26 and April 26, 24 cases of Salmonella Braenderup have been reported to the Statens Serum Institut in Denmark. Those affected live all over the country with 17 women and seven men aged 1 to 90 years old sick. The median age is 67 years of age.

Work is underway to clarify the cause of the outbreak and identify the source of infection, which is suspected to be a widely distributed food.

Whole genome sequencing found the strains were sequence type 22 and closely related to each other. That means a single source is likely.

Earlier this month, the Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten) reported that a Salmonella Braenderup outbreak had affected 14 people in less than two weeks in 10 different regions of the country.

Sweden now has 22 confirmed cases, 17 females and five males, between less than 1 to 91 years old. The median age is 40. Onset of disease ranges from April 13 to May 1.

The Swedish Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) and the Public Health Agency of Sweden are involved in the outbreak investigation.

About Salmonella
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.

Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions. Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.

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