National outbreak of Salmonella Give linked to a local food manufacturer in Malta, October 2016

A. Donachie, T. Melillo, Laura Bubba, Hassan Hartman, M. L. Borg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Salmonella Give is a rare serotype across Europe. In October 2016, a national outbreak of S. Give occurred in Malta. We describe the epidemiological, environmental, microbiological and veterinary investigations. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) was performed on human, food, environmental and veterinary isolates. Thirty-six human cases were reported between October and November 2016, 10 (28%) of whom required hospitalisation. Twenty-six (72%) cases were linked to four restaurants. S. Give was isolated from ready-to-eat antipasti served by three restaurants which were all supplied by the same local food manufacturer. Food-trace-back investigations identified S. Give in packaged bean dips, ham, pork and an asymptomatic food handler at the manufacturer; inspections found inadequate separation between raw and ready-to-eat food during processing. WGS indicated two genetically distinguishable strains of S. Give with two distinct clusters identified; one cluster linked to the local food manufacturer and a second linked to veterinary samples. Epidemiological, environmental and WGS evidence pointed towards cross-contamination of raw and ready-to-eat foods at the local manufacturer as the likely source of one cluster. Severity of illness indicates a high virulence of this specific serotype. To prevent future cases and outbreaks, adherence to food safety practices at manufacturing level need to be reinforced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1425-1432
Number of pages8
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Volume146
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018

Keywords

  • food safety
  • food-borne infections
  • outbreaks
  • Salmonella Give
  • Salmonella typing

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