Rapid outbreak assessment: Multi-country outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka ST413 possibly linked to consumption of chicken meat in the EU/EEA, Israel and the UK
A cross-border outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka ST413 has been ongoing in the EU/EEA, Israel, and the UK since September 2021. By 8 November 2022, 196 cases had been reported in Czechia (n=5), Estonia (n=3), Finland (n=89), France (n=10), Germany (n=2), Ireland (n=1), the Netherlands (n=1), the United Kingdom (n=81), and Israel (n=4), according to the European case definition. Nineteen cases were hospitalised and five cases had septicaemia. One case in the UK died.
Based on case interviews from Finland and the UK, ready-to-eat (RTE) chicken products and/or fresh chicken meat are the likely vehicles of infection. Fifteen cases in Finland reported consumption of six RTE products from three brands. All 15 cases had consumed at least one RTE chicken product. Two products were marketed under the same brand name, which is adopted by the Estonian Company A and the Finnish Company B. Based on additional information, such as purchase data, and consultation of the grocery chains selling the products and of the Finnish Company B, the food authority in Finland linked the products to the Estonian Company A. However, this link could not be verified by the identification of the batches nor by microbiological evidence. The Estonian Company A received processed chicken meat from different suppliers, but there is no further information in RASFF. Therefore, the role of the Estonian Company A as a source of infection could not be established.
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 higher up in the chicken supply chain. New cases are likely to occur in the EU/EEA until the source has been identified and controlled.
Further investigations are needed by public health and food safety authorities to identify the source(s)/origin of contamination.