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Norovirus leading cause food-related outbreaks

Publication date: 29 September 2017
Modificationdate: 29 September 2017

More outbreaks of food-related infections and food poisoning were reported in 2016 than in 2015. Whether this was caused by a genuine rise in food-related outbreaks in the Netherlands or a higher report rate of outbreaks is not known. Norovirus remains the key pathogen causing food-related outbreaks. This was revealed by the analysis of the reported cases in 2016 for food infections and food poisoning.

594 outbreaks affecting 2731 people were reported in 2016, as compared to 406 reported outbreaks and 1850 cases the year before. As in previous years, norovirus remains the key pathogen causing food-related outbreaks, followed by Salmonella and Campylobacter.

Analysis registrations

The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority and the regional and municipal public health services provide the registrated outbreaks. They record and investigate food infections and food poisoning to prevent more cases and outbreaks. The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority examines the food and the places at which it is prepared. The regional and municipal public health services focus on people who have been exposed to contaminated food, working back from them to the possible sources.

The reports of both bodies are combined and then analysed by RIVM’s Centre for Infectious Disease Control. This integral approach provides insight into the causal factors of food-related outbreaks in the Netherlands, the extent to which they occur and any changes and trends over the years. These insights help combat food-related outbreaks.

Hygienic measures

Many of these food infections and poisonings originate in our own kitchen and can be avoided by paying more attention to food safety. In addition to hygiene measures, such as hand washing before preparing food, it is important to prevent "cross contamination". For this purpose, it is important to use different cutting boards and knives for raw and cooked foods.

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