Food & Drinks

Salmonella sickens 14 in Sweden; 40 sick in Danish outbreak

Swedish authorities are investigating a Salmonella outbreak that has affected more than a dozen people in less than two weeks.

From April 13 to 24, 14 people have been infected with Salmonella Braenderup in 10 different regions of the country.

Whole genome sequencing has shown the patients to be linked, according to the Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten).

People sick range from a few months old to 91 years of age and 10 are women.

Infection control units, municipalities, the Swedish Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) and the Public Health Agency of Sweden are investigating the outbreak. This involves interviewing patients to find out what they ate the week before falling ill, with the aim of identifying commonalities between them.

The source of infection has not been identified but is suspected to be a food widely distributed in Sweden.

Salmonella Braenderup entered the top 20 list of serovars causing confirmed infections in Europe in 2018 with 259 cases and was responsible for 300 infections in 2019.

Denmark Salmonella update
Meanwhile, a Salmonella outbreak in Denmark has now affected 40 people with 24 of them needing hospital treatment since November 2020.

People were infected with Salmonella Typhimurium between mid-November 2020 and mid-April 2021, according to the Statens Serum Institut (SSI). Patients live all over the country and include 23 women and 17 men aged 2 to 92 years old.

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Three people positive for the Salmonella strain linked to the outbreak died within 30 days of the sample being taken but it is unknown if they died of or with the Salmonella infection. All three had underlying diseases but Salmonella infection is considered to be a contributing cause of death.

The source of infection was traced to a brand of herbal supplements sold by Orkla Care called HUSK Psyllium in capsules. The HUSK Psyllium seeds from the implicated batch came from India. The company has recalled the entire range of HUSK products.

The product was mentioned during patient interviews and testing by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration found Salmonella in products that two patients had at home. Orkla Care also found one Salmonella positive during self-controls but supplements were discarded before being sold.

Orkla Care said it was evaluating whether to continue working with the Indian firm but said it had supplied HUSK for 40 years and also provided other companies in Europe with Psyllium seed husks.

Products were sent to Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain and Bulgaria, according to a RASFF notice. German and Polish authorities have also publicized national recalls. In Poland, this includes the Colon brand dietary supplement as it contains Psyllium seed husks.

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