Listeria infections stable but frequently reported among the elderly

Press release

​There has been a statistically significant increasing trend of listeriosis between 2008 and 2015, with the proportion of cases in the over 64 age group steadily increasing from 56.2% in 2008 to 64.1% in 2015. Additionally, the number of reported cases and their proportion has almost doubled in those over 84 years. In 2015, 28 EU Member States reported 2 206 confirmed human cases of listeriosis with a case-fatality rate of 18%.

“It is concerning that there continues to be an increasing trend of Listeria cases which mostly occur in the elderly population. ECDC is working together with Member States to enhance surveillance for food- and waterborne diseases, starting with Listeria, as earlier detection of relevant clusters and outbreaks can help prevent further cases,” said Mike Catchpole, Chief Scientist at ECDC. “This is a public health threat that can and needs to be addressed”, he added.

The European Union summary report on trends and sources of zoonoses, zoonotic agents and food-borne outbreaks in 2015 also presents the latest data on infections due to Campylobacter and Salmonella. In 2015, there were 229 213 reported cases of campylobacteriosis in the EU, and the disease remains the most commonly reported foodborne illness in the EU, showing an upward trend since 2008.

The number of cases of salmonellosis, the second most commonly reported foodborne disease in the EU, increased as well. There were 94 625 cases reported in 2015, compared with the 92 007 reported in 2014. However, the increase seen in the past two years can be due partly to improvements in surveillance and better diagnostic methods.

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