Turkey suspected as source of rare Salmonella outbreak in Europe

September 26, 2012

According to Food Safety News, European Union health officials are investigating an ongoing outbreak of Salmonella Stanley that has sickened more than 400 people in seven European Union member countries. The outbreak is thought to have originated in poultry—more specifically turkey—produced in Europe, according to a new joint report from EU health authorities.

The first cases associated with this outbreak occurred in Hungary in August of 2011, but the outbreak was not detected until late June 2012, when health officials were alerted to the fact that an unusually high number of Salmonella Stanley infections had been reported in Belgium. Since that time, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovak Republic, and the United Kingdom have all reported cases of Salmonella Stanley with a DNA fingerprint indistinguishable from the strain being tracked in Belgium.

In most affected countries, the outbreak is thought to have begun in January 2012, when a spike in Salmonella Stanley infections was noted. The most recent case was reported on September 18. To date, 167 cases have been confirmed as part of the outbreak and a further 254 cases are considered probable. The outbreak is considered ongoing.

While officials do not know the exact source of the bacteria, they suspect that it came from somewhere in the European turkey production chain. The outbreak strain has been found among turkey flocks and in turkey meat in eight EU member countries, including six where outbreak-related illnesses have occurred.

In the United States, one case of Salmonella Stanley indistinguishable from the outbreak strain has been detected. The patient, a male, fell in on July 23, 2012, but did not report traveling outside the U.S. in the week before he fell ill.

Food Safety News article

EU report (pdf)