Norway Salmonella outbreak update: Cases rise to 42


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in tracking The Salmonella Aguna outbreak that has hit Norway, the Institute of Public Health now reports 42 infected people living in several counties, peaked in mid-November. The source of infection is currently unknown.

Image/Robert Herrmann

Investigating an outbreak takes time and is demanding. Unfortunately, we can not always find the source of infection. It’s still early days in the investigation, so all possibilities remain open and there’s still a lot of work to be done. We are following the situation closely, says FHI’s chief advisor Heidi Lange.

Although there was a jump from 31 to 42 infected people in reports as of Monday, November 28, that does not mean that the last 11 people reported in the outbreak were infected recently. There is a delay in reporting. All 42 people diagnosed with infection were diagnosed from November 7 to 25, with a peak from November 15 to 16. November, says Lang.

The age of the injured ranged from 1 to 88 years, and the average age was 36 years, of whom 19 were women. Bacteria with the same genetic profile were detected in 29 of the 42 infected people. For the remaining 13, sequencing results (the results of in vitro investigations) are not yet clear.

People live in Westland (13), Viken (12), Telemark and Vestfold (7), Inlandet (3), Trøndelag (2), Troms and Finnmark (1), Møre and Romsdal (1) and Oslo (3). No new infections have been reported from Monday, November 28.

17 of the infected were hospitalized for salmonellosis. The typical symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhoea, headache, abdominal pain, nausea, and possibly fever. Salmonella bacteria are mainly transmitted through food.

Salmonella agona is a rare serotype of Salmonella in Norway and the rest of Europe, so based only on the serotype and the fact that the samples were taken in November, we assume with great certainty that those infected belong to the outbreak, says FHI senior advisor Heidi Lang.

The number of people hospitalized due to this outbreak is high, but we have no indication that this type of salmonella causes more severe disease than other types of salmonella. Perhaps this is an expression of the fact that it’s people who are hospitalized who get caught, and people with milder infections don’t see a doctor, Lang says.

She adds that salmonella infections usually go away on their own without treatment.

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The source of infection is currently unknown, but it is common for gastrointestinal bacteria to become infected through food. The FHI is collaborating with the municipal health service, microbiological laboratories, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority and the Veterinary Institute to determine if infected people may have a common source of infection.

People diagnosed with strep live in 8 counties. So it is possible that they could be infected through a food product that is distributed throughout the country. Lang says they are now being interviewed to assess whether they have a common source of infection.

She adds that it is too early to say whether this is a limited outbreak or if it will expand.

Salmonella aguna was previously detected in Norway, but then only as isolated cases and often linked to infection abroad.

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