Campylobacter cases on the up, says EFSA report

campCampylobacteriosis remains the most reported zoonotic disease in humans, with a continuous increase in reported cases over the last five years. However, Salmonella cases in humans have continued to fall, marking a decrease for the seventh consecutive year.

Those are the main findings of the annual report on zoonoses and foodborne outbreaks in the European Union for 2011, produced jointly by EFSA and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The report supports the European Commission and EU Member States in monitoring risks related to zoonotic diseases. These diseases can be transmitted directly or indirectly between animals and humans, for instance by consuming contaminated foodstuffs or through contact with infected animals.

“The good news is that the positive trend in reduction of Salmonella cases in humans and poultry is continuing. However, the increase in Campylobacter cases highlights the continued need to monitor and control the presence of these bacteria in the food chain in order to reduce the risk of human exposure,” says Pia Makela, head of EFSA’s biological monitoring unit.

Johan Giesecke, chief scientist at ECDC, adds: “We need to remain vigilant and continue to strengthen our collaboration with all important partners involved in the prevention and control of zoonotic diseases.”

In 2011, a total of 220,209 Campylobacter cases were reported in humans, 2.2 per cent more than in 2010. This bacterium can cause diarrhoea and fever, and the most common foodstuff in which Campylobacter was found was chicken meat.

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