An outbreak of salmonellosis caused by cherry tomatoes. THE European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published a notice on July 27 reporting 92 cases of salmonellosis identified in 13 countries around the world, including France, between August 2022 and July 2023.
Interviews conducted by the European health center suggest that these contaminations are linked to the consumption of cherry tomatoes. Nevertheless, in the absence of microbiological tests carried out on cherry tomatoes, “source of contamination and points of contamination” could not be established, says the ECDC.
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— ECDC Outbreaks (@ECDC_Outbreaks) July 28, 2023
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“Low” risk of new infections
France has 16 cases of contamination identified since August 2022. Other European countries have been affected, such as Germany (26 cases), Finland (12 cases), Sweden (11 cases), the Netherlands (5 cases) or Austria (5 cases). The United Kingdom (4 cases) and the United States (2 cases) have also faced salmonella contamination on their territory. A patient of unknown nationality died from the infection.
The first case of salmonellosis was identified in France on August 22, 2022 and the most recent infection dates back to June 24, 2023, in Sweden. The majority of cases were reported between October 2022 and March 2023, with a drop in infections since December 2022. The risk of new infections is now “weak” according to the ECDC.
The cherry tomatoes suspected of being the carriers of the contamination were traced to wholesalers in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, as well as tomato growers in the Netherlands, Spain and Morocco.
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What are the health risks ?
Salmonella is a bacterium that can contaminate certain foods when hygiene rules are not respected. Food poisoning caused by salmonella is called salmonellosis. They result in gastrointestinal disorders (diarrhea, vomiting) of sudden onset, often accompanied by fever and headaches.
These symptoms generally occur six to 72 hours after consumption of the contaminated products and can be aggravated in young children, immunocompromised subjects and the elderly.
Most of the time, the infection goes away on its own. Antibiotics and hospitalization are reserved for particularly serious cases.
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