EU reports slight rise in salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis

Latest data has revealed an increase in the number of people in the European Union that have suffered salmonellosis or campylobacteriosis, but thankfully the increase has been very small.

Clements 90x90 Headshot Headshot
Subscribe to Magazine
Campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis are the two most commonly reported zoonoses in the European Union. Latest data reveals a slight increase in cases. (DrAfter123 |
Campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis are the two most commonly reported zoonoses in the European Union. Latest data reveals a slight increase in cases. (DrAfter123 |

Reported cases of campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis, the two most commonly reported zoonoses in the European Union (EU), were both slightly higher in 2021, the latest year for which data is available.

Cases of campylobacteriosis rose by 0.86%, while those of salmonellosis were up by 1.96%, to stand at 127,840 and 60,050 respectively. The increases, however, need to be viewed in the context of two major events that affected data collection the year before.

2020 saw the U.K. exit the EU, leading to a reduction in the absolute number of reported cases, although the U.K. province of Northern Ireland continues to submit data to the EU. The other factor was partial or total lockdowns associated with COVID-19 being gradually lifted, which likely influenced exposure to foodborne pathogens.


Campylobacteriosis has been the most frequently reported zoonosis in humans in the EU since 2007. In 2019, in two thirds of the EU’s 27 Member States (MS), the number of cases decreased. A decrease was also observed in 2020.

In 2021, however, a slight increase in the number of confirmed cases was recorded. More than 10,000 cases resulted in hospitalizations, making Campylobacter the second most common foodborne agent associated with hospitalizations.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) notes that monitoring Campylobacter for the purposes of improving biosecurity is of the upmost importance. It adds that the aim is to stimulate action to lower Campylobacter counts on broiler carcasses and so reduce the number of human Campylobacter cases due to handling or consumption of contaminated chicken meat.

In 2021, however, only 16 of the EU’s 27 MS and three non-MS reported Campylobacter data from several animal groups, and Campylobacter spp were detected in all the major animal categories. Broilers were the most frequently tested, accounting for 24.5% of the test results. The number of tested units was higher in 2021 than in 2020, with the highest percentage of positive units being reported in pigs.


Salmonella was, again, the second most common foodborne zoonosis in the EU.

2021 saw a slight increase in notified human cases, following 2020’s all-time low of confirmed human cases and notifications since reporting began in 2007. This is thought to have been due, in part, to the lower impact of COVID-19 restrictions.

The numbers of human Salmonella cases acquired in the EU, outbreak related cases and foodborne outbreaks were higher than in 2021, however, they were still lower than in previous years.

As with Campylobacter, notification rates varied between MS. For example, a decrease in the proportion of reported data for Salmonella serovars occurred. This was probably due to a lack of serovar data from Spain and Luxembourg, the ECDC notes.

Where cases acquired in the EU were concerned, the ranking of the five most common serovars was stable, but the proportion of Salmonella enteritidis was much higher in relation to total cases. The most reported human serovars were S. enteritidis and Salmonella typhimurium and its monophasic variant, which accounted for 79.1% in 2021.

S. enteritidis continued to be the serovar that was most frequently reported in human cases and was associated with various sources, especially broilers and laying hens. Eggs and egg products were confirmed as the primary source of Salmonellosis outbreak in 2021, as had been the case in previous years.

Seven MS failed to meet reduction targets for Salmonella in laying flocks in 2021, while five failed to meet reduction targets in breeding flocks.

Campylobacter, Salmonella most common EU foodborne illness

Subscribe to Magazine
Page 1 of 359
Next Page