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Detailed surveillance of foodborne pathogens in the Netherlands: an inventory

Kiemsurveillance van voedselgerelateerde ziekteverwekkers in Nederland: een inventarisatie


In this report the detailed surveillance (molecular typing) of food borne viruses, bacteria and parasites that present the greatest burden of disease and economic costs in the Netherlands are presented in separate chapters in a standardized way. Each chapter ends with a description of the shortcomings in the surveillance in place, the benefit of (molecular) typing in policymaking decisions concerning food safety and some conclusions. For part, this report is based on a previously published report by Boot (2006) entitled: Surveillance van pathogenen in Nederland: Detailkarakterisering van pathogenen die relevant zijn voor de openbare gezondheidszorg (1). Some pathogens are discussed in both reports. The report starts with a description of the various fields of application of detailed surveillance, the most used molecular typing methods and the available databases and infrastructures both at the national and international level. This report ends with a summary of the conclusions drawn in the various chapters and subsequently with a general conclusion and recommendations.

Some key findings: - For norovirus and hepatitis A-virus the role of food in their transmission is obvious. The use of longer sequences will faciltate the tracing of a common food source. - Molecular typing on a broader scale would make it feasible to determine the exact role of food in the transmission of enterovirus, rotavirus and hepatitis E-virus. - The role of food in the transmission of Methicilline resistente Staphylococcus aureus) (MRSA), Clostridium difficile and Coxiella is unclear. Furthermore, for Coxiella, it is doubtful whether (molecular) typing will be useful in food safety decision making. - Comprehensive surveillance that includes veterinary, food and environmental sources will be necessary for epidemiological, transmission and attribution studies. - Surveillance proved its benefit for STEC. For Listeria, molecular typing techniques, like Multilocus Sequence Typing (MLST), would improve the current surveillance significantly. - The introduction of non-culture based molecular techniques would facilitate earlier interventions in food production. - No surveillance is in place for Giardia intestinalis and Cryptosporidium. Integration of human and veterinary monitoring data is, due to the zoonotic aspect, needed for all parasites. Typing methods for Cryptosporidium, Echinococcus and Toxoplasma gondii are under development.

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