Norwegian Yersinia outbreak: Spinach is suspect

The recent Yersinia outbreak in Norway, that affected 23 people, is believed to have its source in a salad with spinach or baby spinach in it. Luckily, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Folkehelseinstituttet) said the Yersinia enterocolitica O3 outbreak was considered to be over.

It started in mid-May and people fell sick from mid to late May. In total, 15 women and 8 men were affected, aged 2 to 58 years old. Between 40 and 80 cases of yeriniosis are reported annually to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health with most people being infected domestically. Outbreak investigations were conducted with local authorities, the Veterinary Institute and Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Mattilsynet).

Analysis by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health of patient interviews and purchase information showed that 22 of 23 people reported eating a pre-washed salad product containing spinach or baby spinach the week before becoming ill.

Despite this being the probable source of infection, it has so far not been confirmed by microbiological findings in any products. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority is continuing traceback work to identify and trace the raw materials along the food chain back to the country of origin, manufacturer, importer and point of sale.


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