Three Salmonella outbreaks revealed in Ireland

Three Salmonella outbreaks revealed in Ireland

by Sue Jones
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Irish public health officials have reported three Salmonella outbreaks that have affected at least 34 people.

Two of the three outbreaks were caused by Salmonella Enteritidis and one by Salmonella Mikawasima. Two of the incidents remain unsolved while the third has been linked to chicken products.

Twenty three of the infections have been laboratory confirmed, according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), Ireland’s agency for surveillance of communicable diseases and part of the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Six people were sickened in the first Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak. Four women and two men had illness onset dates ranging from early June to Oct. 21. Two patients were aged 1 to 2 years old, one was 15-19 years old and three were over the age of 25.

HSE officials told Food Safety News that an investigation has not identified any potential method of transmission including foodborne or source including food.

Outbreak with food source suspected
The second Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak has 12 confirmed patients. Three people fell sick in 2019 associated with travel to another country but nine cases in 2020 are not travel associated. The first case this year was in February and the most recent illness was reported in September.

Men and women were equally affected and the age range of patients from four regions of the country was 11 months to 38 years old. Four people were hospitalized, three were seen by doctors, and two were seen in emergency departments. All recovered.

Many but not all of those sick reported consumption of chicken products. Investigations are ongoing in Ireland and in Europe where a similar strain was also identified in the past three years, according to HSE.

Samples sent to the National Salmonella and Shigella Reference Laboratory were found to be the same strain type, and also matched those identified in the United Kingdom.

Nearly 400 people have been infected with Salmonella in 2020 in the UK after eating frozen chicken products. Most of those sicked live in England but Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also have cases. Almost half of those sick are children aged 16 years old or younger.

In late September, Aldi recalled certain batches and dates of Roosters Southern Fried Poppin’ Chicken and Roosters Breaded Poppin’ Chicken because they might contain Salmonella. The chicken used for the product was from Poland.

The Salmonella Mikawasima outbreak involves 17 people, of which 16 fell ill in 2020 and one in 2019. Illness onset dates this year range from the end of August to late October. Nine women and seven men ranging in age from their twenties to over 65 years old are affected.

Despite an investigation, no definite food or other source of infection has been found for the outbreak.

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