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Yersinia and Shigella infections declined in Europe

The number of Yersinia and Shigella infections in Europe decreased in 2020, according to recently published data.

A total of 28 countries in Europe and the European Economic Area reported 5,744 confirmed cases of Yersinia (EEA), compared to 7,054 in 2019.

Yersinia reporting is voluntary in Belgium, France, Greece, Italy and Luxembourg, there is no surveillance system in the Netherlands.

As in previous years, Germany has the most patients, followed by France. These two countries account for half of all confirmed cases. Denmark has the highest case rate per 100,000 people, followed by Finland.

Of the 1,293 cases with information, 29% were hospitalized. Two men over the age of 85 died. The highest notification rates were detected among children aged 0 to 4 years.

A total of 98% of the 5,193 cases for which species information was available were Yersinia enterocolitica. Seven countries recorded 94 cases of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis.

In 2020, 16 outbreaks of Yersinia were reported to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). They involved 246 cases in six countries. The number of cases is slightly higher than in 2019. An outbreak in Denmark involved 200 people exposed to Yersinia enterocolitica after eating contaminated pasta at a picnic.

Overall trends in reported cases The European Centre for Disease Prevention said the number of Yersiniasis remained stable from 2016 to 2019, but declined significantly in 2020, which is likely to be a Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, UK data no longer included and controlled after the UK leaves the EU (ECDC).

Shigella statistics

Overall, 29 countries reported 1,806 confirmed cases Herbella cases, compared with 8,448 in 2019.


This large drop may be due to the pandemic and UK figures are not included, the ECDC said.

“There may be a real reduction in transmission due to reduced travel due to travel restrictions, reduced social interaction and increased hygiene measures. There is a potential risk of underdiagnosis with reduced diagnostic capacity.”

Shigellosis was swallowed with material contaminated with human faeces. Infection can also come from contaminated food and water. Very small amounts of stool can cause disease.

France and Italy have voluntary reporting and Belgium uses another monitoring system.

France, the Netherlands and Germany make up half of the confirmed cases. France alone accounted for nearly a third. Luxembourg reported the highest notification rate, followed by France and Slovakia.

There are 1,028 travel statuses available, 290 of which are related to overseas travel. Egypt, Indonesia, India and Madagascar were most frequently mentioned as possible infected countries.

Of the confirmed cases, only 236 have information on the suspected mode of transmission. The most commonly reported infection was through food, followed by sexual transmission and other person-to-person contact.

The main species found is Shigella Matsunei. Children under the age of 5 have the highest notification rates.

Denmark, France, the Netherlands and Slovakia reported five foodborne disease outbreaks.

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