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EFSA and ECDC investigate multi-country Salmonella outbreak linked to chocolate products

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An outbreak caused by monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium is rapidly evolving in seven EU/EEA countries and the United Kingdom (UK). As of 5 April 2022, 134 cases have been reported, mainly among children under 10 years old. The first case was identified in the UK on 7 January 2022. Since 17 February 2022, cases have also been identified elsewhere in Europe.

The outbreak is characterised by an unusually high proportion of children being hospitalised, some with severe clinical symptoms such as bloody diarrhoea. Based on interviews with patients and initial analytical epidemiological studies, specific chocolate products have been identified as the likely route of infection. Affected cases have been identified through advanced molecular typing techniques. As this method of testing is not routinely performed in all countries, some cases may be undetected.

Product recalls have been launched in several countries to date, including Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, and the UK, to prevent the consumption of products potentially contaminated with Salmonella. Further investigations are being conducted by public health and food safety authorities in countries where cases are reported, to identify the cause and the extent of the contamination, and to ensure contaminated products are not put on the market.

ECDC and EFSA are assessing the available data from these countries and preparing a rapid outbreak assessment to be published in the week of 11 April 2022. Questions regarding ongoing product recalls should be addressed to national food safety authorities.

Number of confirmed and probable cases* with monophasic S. Typhimurium infection by country, EU/EEA and the UK, as of 5 April 2022

CountryConfirmed casesProbable casesTotal No of cases
Total EU/EEA422971
United Kingdom63063

*According to the international outbreak case definition

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