Raw chicken bacteria on the rise in Europe: study

March 8, 2012

A type of bacteria mostly found in raw chicken meat that can cause diarrhoea and fever is on the rise in the European Union, according to a report from European food safety agencies published on Thursday.

The report found that cases of Campylobacter rose by seven percent to 212,064 in 2010 -- the last year for which such data is available and the fifth consecutive year of increases in reported cases of the bacteria in humans.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in Italy and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in Sweden said in their report that the reasons for the increase were "not completely understood."

"The European Commission is currently carrying out a cost-benefit analysis of the for the bacteria at different stages of the food chain," it said, adding that the EFSA was looking into reduction measures.

The report also said that cases of another type of bacteria, Salmonella, fell to 99,020 in 2010 compared to 108,618 in 2009. of Listeria also decreased slightly to 1,601 from 1,654 in 2009.

But the report found that human cases of Shiga toxin-verotoxin, which produces , also known as E.coli, increased to 4,000 in 2010 from 3,573 in 2009 with particularly high rises in Germany and the Netherlands.

The report said 25 people died as a result of illnesses from food or animals in 2010 including 16 from Salmonella and four from Listeria. The highest number of reported deaths -- seven -- was in Spain followed by five in Britain.

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