ECDC reports on outbreak of Listeria linked to consumption of cold-smoked fish products

11 June 2019

Article: 53/2306

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has released a report on a multi-country outbreak of infections due to Listeria monocytogenes clonal complex 8.

Five EU countries are identified in the report (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France and
Sweden), with a total of 22 cases recorded, which includes five deaths. The first case was reported in July 2014 in Estonia, and the most recent case occurred in Denmark in February 2019. Eight patients confirmed the consumption of cold-smoked fish products. 

L. monocytogenes food isolates, matching the human outbreak strain by whole genome sequencing (WGS), were detected at wholesale and retail outlets in France, Denmark, Italy and Sweden. This was from 13 batches of cold smoked or gravid salmon and from six batches of cold smoked trout products.

The presence of L. monocytogenes matching the outbreak strain suggests the persistence of the microorganism at the Estonian company’s premises, where further investigation is needed to identify points of contamination, and cross-contamination, in the food processing plant. 

Control measures were implemented in Estonia, Denmark, France and Italy following the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) notifications, but until the source of infection has been identified and controlled, new invasive listeriosis cases associated with this event may still occur.

Source: ECDC, 4 June 2019