Listeriosis infections, commonly known as food poisoning, have continued to steadily increase over the last five years, the European Food Safety Authority and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (EFSA-ECDC) said Wednesday.
The EFSA-ECDC report said there were 16 zoonoses and foodborne outbreaks in 2013, based on data from 32 European countries. Listeriosis cases increased 8.6 percent from 2012 to 2013, continuing its steady increase during the last five years.
A common listeriosis culprit is campylobacteriosis, caused by Campylobacter that is typically found in chicken meat. It is the most common foodborne disease throughout the European Union.
In contrast, the number of salmonellosis cases fell by 7.9 percent compared to 2012. This is the eighth consecutive year that these cases have diminished. Experts said the decrease is due to Salmonella control programs being implemented in poultry standards, and more people complying with EU Salmonella standards.
This report, titled “European Union Summary Report on Trends and Sources of Zoonoses, Zoonotic Agents and Food-Borne Outbreaks in 2013,” provides vital information to the EU member states and the European Commission, both of which are seeking to control, monitor and prevent zoonotic illnesses.
“The rise of reported invasive listeriosis cases is of great concern as the infection is acquired mostly from ready-to-eat food and it may lead to death, particularly among the increasing population of elderly people and patients with weakened immunity in Europe,” ECDC Chief Scientist Mike Catchpole said.