The Public Health Agency of Sweden previously the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control

www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se.
Solna, Sweden
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PubMed | The Swedish Board of Agriculture, National Food Agency, The Public Health Agency of Sweden previously the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control and National Veterinary Institute
Type: | Journal: Acta veterinaria Scandinavica | Year: 2015

The prevalence of Salmonella in food producing animals is very low in Sweden due to rigorous control programmes. However, no active surveillance is in place in sheep. The authorities decided to perform a prevalence study in sheep herds because findings at slaughter indicated that sheep associated S. diarizonae (S. enterica subspecies diarizonae serovar 61:(k):1, 5, (7)) might be common in sheep. Sampling was stratified by herd size in two groups, small herds with 30 animals and large herds with > 30 animals. In each stratum, 237 herds were selected at random. Faecal samples received from 244 out of the 474 randomly selected herds were analysed.A total of 40 of 100 (40%) of large herds and 17 of 144 (12%) of small herds were positive. The overall adjusted prevalence was 17.6% (95% CI, 12.9-22.2). Sheep associated S. diarizonae was detected in all counties (n = 21). Scientific opinions and an evaluation of on-farm control measures performed concluded that the impact of sheep associated S. diarizonae on human health is very low, and that risk management measures applied in response to findings of sheep associated S. diarizonae in sheep or sheep meat can be expected to have very little impact on reducing risks to human health. As a result, Swedish authorities decided to make an exemption for sheep associated Salmonella diarizonae in sheep and sheep meat in the current Salmonella control measures.Sheep associated S. diarizonae is endemic in Swedish sheep herds. It is more common in large herds and not limited to certain parts of the country. The responsible authorities concluded that current risk management actions regarding sheep associated S. diarizonae in sheep and sheep meat are not proportional to the risk. This is the first time in the history of the Swedish Salmonella control programme that an exemption from the legislation has been made for a specific serovar. If there is any future indication of an increasing risk, due to e.g. change in the pathogenicity or development of antimicrobial resistance, the risk assessment will be re-evaluated and control measures reinforced if needed.

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