On 17 January 2018, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in collaboration with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a further risk assessment concerning the outbreak of Salmonella Agona which has been linked to the consumption of infant formula. The assessment concluded that the widespread recall of several infant formula products made by a French processing company was likely to significantly reduce the risk of infants being infected by S. Agona, according to the risk assessment published today by ECDC and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). However, as long as there are potentially contaminated products circulating, new cases may still be detected.
The outbreak of S. Agona linked to the consumption of infant formula has been ongoing in France since August 2017. So far, the outbreak has affected 39 children under one year of age with 37 in France, one in Spain confirmed by whole genome sequencing (WGS) and one in Greece, considered to be associated with this event.
Investigations identified seven different brands of infant formula from a single processing company in France as the vehicles of infection. All products manufactured since 15 February 2017, including products other than infant formula, have been recalled and/or withdrawn, as a precautionary measure.
Recalled products have been distributed to 13 countries in the European Union (Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and the UK) and to 54 other countries.
Most of the batches involved in the investigation have not yet passed the expiry date and may still be available to consumers, which is why the detection of new cases cannot be excluded.
Source: ECDC News Release, 17 January 2018
The current issue of ECDC’s Communicable disease threats report notes that Scotland reported two infant cases of S. Agona with onset of symptoms in March and April 2017. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) comparative analysis of these two cases showed that the two Scottish cases were not linked to the current outbreak in France.