Attribution of Human Listeria monocytogenes Infections in England and Wales to Ready-to-Eat Food Sources Placed on the Market: Adaptation of the Hald Salmonella Source Attribution Model

Christine L. Little, Sara Monteiro Pires, Iain A. Gillespie, Kathie Grant, Gordon L. Nichols

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Human listeriosis is a rare but serious foodborne disease, with high morbidity and mortality in vulnerable populations (e.g., pregnant women, the elderly, and the immunocompromised). The disease is predominantly caused by the consumption of contaminated ready-to-eat foods. Since 2001, an increase in the number of listeriosis cases has been observed in several European Union countries, including England and Wales, predominantly in the over-60s population. The cause of this selective increased incidence is unknown. The Hald Salmonella Bayesian source attribution model was adapted to determine the potential of this approach to quantify the contribution of different food sources to the burden of human listeriosis in England and Wales from 2004 to 2007. The most important food sources for the overall population were multicomponent foods (sandwiches and prepacked mixed salad vegetables) (23.1%), finfish (16.8%), and beef (15.3%). Attribution of major sources of infection was similar for the elderly population (>= 60 years old, multicomponent foods [22.0%], finfish [14.7%], and beef [13.6%]). For pregnancy-associated cases, beef (12.3%), milk and milk products (11.8%), and finfish (11.2%) were more important sources of infection. The adapted model also showed that the serotype 4b was associated with relatively more human infections than that of other serotypes; further, the subtype 4b amplified fragment-length polymorphism V was associated with more pregnancy-associated cases than other subtypes of 4b. This approach of quantifying the contribution of various food sources to human listeriosis provides a useful tool in food safety risk analysis, and underlines the need for further emphasis to be given to the reduction of Listeria monocytogenes in high-risk foods, such as multicomponent foods, which are consumed without any further treatment. The need for targeted dietary advice for the elderly population is also highlighted.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFoodborne Pathogens and Disease
Volume7
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)749-756
ISSN1535-3141
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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