Cases of salmonella seemed to have increased regardless of recall

According to the Israeli Health Ministry this past August and September, there were 80% more cases of salmonella reported than the previous year. However, the ministry states that although significance cannot be determined by monthly comparisons, the numbers are alarming. The months referred to are those in which recalls were made after suspected salmonella contamination.
Rise in salmonella during months of food recalls Photo Credit: 123RF, angellodeco/Channel 2 News

In the past months, salmonella returned to the headlines after multiple products were recalled from the stores for fear of being contaminated. Now it appears that the recall may have been justly done. Official reports from the Health Ministry that since the start of the year until the end of September there was a 50% increase in the number of cases compared to the previous years.

According to the same report, in August and September of 2016, the months during which most of the recalls occurred, there was an 80% increase in salmonella cases when compared to those months in the previous year, indicating a failed recall by the food companies.

It is important to note that in 99% of salmonella infections, it only causes such mild symptoms that the infected are unaware of the cause. On the other hand, only 1% of all cases can be life-threatening, as the infection may potentially spread to the blood, cause heart damage or even rarely, death.

At the Health Ministry they did not deny the significant rise, only emphasized that month-long periods across years are not comparable as full year are. “According to our findings, there is no rise in comparison to last year,” they stated. “Across short periods there are increases and decreases because of the reporting period and as such we determine significance only by full year comparisons. The incidence rate of this year is similar to that of 2014 and rather low compared to 2015. During the time when the salmonella was discovered in the food, there was no identified significant rise in the number of cases. As such it can be said that these reported cases of salmonella infections have little to do with the food and rather more to due with infection being passed between people. The strain of salmonella found in the recalled products was not the same strain found in infected patients.”  

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