Epidemiology and Infection

Gastrointestinal infections

Salmonella enterica serovar Agona European outbreak associated with a food company

N. NICOLAYa1a2 c1, L. THORNTONa2, S. COTTERa2, P. GARVEYa2, O. BANNONa2, P. McKEOWNa2, M. CORMICANa3, I. FISHERa4, C. LITTLEa4, N. BOXALLa4, E. DE PINNAa4, T. M. PETERSa4, J. COWDENa5, R. SALMONa6, B. MASONa6, N. IRVINEa7, P. ROONEYa8 and D. O'FLANAGANa2

a1 European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training (EPIET), European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Stockholm, Sweden

a2 Health Protection Surveillance Centre, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

a3 National Salmonella Reference Laboratory, Galway, Republic of Ireland

a4 Centre for Infections, Health Protection Agency, London, England

a5 Health Protection Scotland, Glasgow, Scotland

a6 Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, Public Health Wales, Cardiff, Wales

a7 Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre Northern Ireland, Belfast, Northern Ireland

a8 Northern Ireland Public Health Laboratory, Belfast, Northern Ireland

SUMMARY

We investigated an international outbreak of Salmonella Agona with a distinct PFGE pattern associated with an Irish Food company (company X) producing pre-cooked meat products sold in various food outlet chains in Europe. The outbreak was first detected in Ireland. We undertook national and international case-finding, food traceback and microbiological investigation of human, food and environmental samples. We undertook a matched case-control study on Irish cases. In total, 163 cases in seven European countries were laboratory-confirmed. Consumption of food from food outlet chains supplied by company X was significantly associated with being a confirmed case (mOR 18·3, 95% CI 2·2–149·2) in the case-control study. The outbreak strain was isolated from the company's pre-cooked meat products and production premises. Sufficient evidence was gathered to infer the vehicles of infection and sources of the outbreak and to justify the control measures taken, which were plant closure and food recall.

(Accepted September 22 2010)

(Online publication October 18 2010)

Correspondence:

c1 Author for correspondence: Dr N. Nicolay, Health Protection Surveillance Centre, 25-27 Middle Gardiner Street, Dublin 1, Ireland. (Email: nathalienicolay@yahoo.fr)

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