In November 2013, a rare salmonella bacteria strain, Salmonella Coeln, has been confirmed in 18 people in Norway by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH). The patients were infected in Norway and live in several counties (Buskerud, Oslo, Rogaland, Akershus, Nordland, Oppland, Oslo, Troms, Vestfold, Hordaland, Vest-Agder and Østfold).
"The patients include three children and fifteen adults. Salmonella infections are not usually serious and do not need treatment. Over the last ten years, we have been notified of approximately 0-3 cases of salmonellosis per year due to this strain," said senior adviser Line Vold in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the NIPH.
The NIPH collaborates with the municipal health service, the Norwegian Veterinary Institute and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority in the investigation around each patient. Interviews and samples from the patient in their local environment are routinely taken to try and identify a common source of infection.
"This work takes time and is not always successful in finding the source of infection," says Vold.
About salmonella infection
The salmonella bacterium is transmitted mainly through contaminated food and water, but also by contact from person to person or from domestic animals, including pets and wild animals. The most common symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, and possibly fever. The disease is usually not serious. Most cases of diarrhoea are self-limiting and resolve within a day or two. In case of severe symptoms, contact a doctor.
With regards to diarrhoea in specific risk groups (food handlers, health professionals and children in child care centres) special advice will be given on monitoring and control.
Good hand hygiene after using the toilet and before preparing food is important to prevent infections that cause diarrhoea. People with diarrhoea should avoid preparing food for others to avoid infection.