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Sweden: Unpasteurized spinach drink tied to increasing cryptosporidium cases

Officials in Sweden are investigating a recent increase in the number of cryptosporidiosis cases. Public Health Agency Folkhälsomyndigheten has linked some illnesses to one brand of an unpasteurized pre-purchased freshly pressed fruit and vegetable drink.

Investigations indicate it is spinach in the drink, delivered in October, that is the source of infection but as spinach is a fresh product, the contaminated beverage is no longer in store.

During the autumn -and in November especially- there has been a rise in cryptosporidiosis. In October and November, more than 300 cases infected in Sweden have been reported compared to about 20 to 70 infections in all November in previous years.

About half of the country’s 21 regions have cases from all ages but it is mainly adults who have been affected. An increase was first noted in Stockholm.

Elsie Ydring, an epidemiologist at Folkhälsomyndigheten, said further investigation on the origin of the spinach is ongoing: “It is regarded as a national outbreak with cases from different regions during the same period and the regions have different drinking water sources. Sweden has 21 regions and the majority of cases during October to November were reported from Stockholm, Östergötland, Västra Götaland, Halland, Jönköping and Dalarna.”

Folkhälsomyndigheten and local health agencies are investigating the outbreak to explain the increase.


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