Whelks identified as novel Salmonella vehicle

| December 10, 2013

whelksA newly published report by public health and food safety authorities in the UK describes the investigation into an unusual outbreak of Salmonella Goldcoast infection associated with the consumption of whelks (a type of shellfish) in England earlier this year.

The outbreak occurred between late June and early October and affected at least 38 people, mainly in the east of the country. Ten patients required hospital treatment and four were admitted to intensive care after becoming seriously ill.

The epidemiological investigation suggested a link with the consumption of whelk meat processed at a single factory. Salmonella Goldcoast was isolated from two samples of whelks taken at the point of sale and processed at the implicated factory. The same serovar was also isolated from environmental and water samples taken at the factory. The processor initiated a product recall in September following investigations at the factory that revealed problems with control of cooking temperatures and other aspects of whelk processing.

The report is published in the online journal Eurosurveillance and can be found in full here.

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