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Belgium’s salmonella shame

Published on 18/02/2005

18 February 2005

BRUSSELS – More salmonella cases are recorded in Belgium than in any other European country, according to the health minister.

On Friday, Rudy Demotte was reported in La Libre stating the current methods for recognising food infections in humans were “still insufficient”.

In a written reply to MP Guido De Padt, he said: “Belgium remains the European country that is the most affected by salmonella infections.”

The latest figures from the Scientific Public Health Institute, those of 2003, showed there were 12 894 salmonella infections detected and 6,556 infections of Campylobacter, another bacterial infection.

The figures fall short of the actual number of cases which probably occurred because not all laboratories pass their figures to the Institute, not all types of tests are systematically carried out and not all affected patients are tested.

In 2003, there were 101 food poisoning epidemics, with 1,293 people involved, 142 hospitalisations and one child’s death as a result.

The Institute believes raw eggs were at the root of 43 percent of the infections, with meat to blame in 20 percent.

In terms of deaths due to Salmonella, the latest figures are for 1997 and show it caused 21 deaths, with 114 people dying following an intestinal infection.

Sophie Bertrand, who works at the Institute’s bacteriology section, said Belgium’s high figures were due partly to the fact that the country is ahead of its neighbours in developing a system of diagnosing salmonella.

“Another explanation may be the high numbers of laying chickens that are raised here,” she said. “Vaccination campaigns are going to start for them soon.”

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news