STOCKHOLM, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- An outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka ST413 that has been evolving in seven European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) countries, the United Kingdom (UK) and Israel has probable links to the consumption of chicken meat, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said on Wednesday.
"Based on case interviews from Finland and the UK, ready-to-eat (RTE) chicken products and/or fresh chicken meat (such as those used in sandwiches and wraps) are the likely vehicles of infection," the ECDC said in a press release.
Following investigations, the food safety authority in Finland linked the suspected RTE products to an Estonian company. However, this link could not be verified by the identification of batches nor by microbiological evidence. The Estonian company received processed chicken meat from different suppliers, and its role as a source of infection could not be established, the release said.
Epidemiological data and microbiological evidence from whole genome sequencing of human isolates indicate there are several active sources through different food distribution chains, with a likely common source further up the supply chain. New cases are likely to occur in the EU/EEA until the source has been identified and controlled, it added.
As of Nov. 8, 196 cases have been reported in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, the UK and Israel. Nineteen cases have been hospitalized, five cases have had septicemia and there was one fatal case in the UK.