According to researchers, the Salmonella outbreak linked to alfalfa sprouts last year was, in fact, the first identified Salmonella Havana occurrence in Australia.
During June 2018, an increase in Salmonella Havana was detected through routine surveillance by the Communicable Disease Control Branch (CDCB) of South Australia (SA) Health. During 2013 to 2017, three to 14 cases were reported annually to CDCB. No previous outbreaks had been attributed to this Salmonella strain in Australia.
A total of 31 cases were reported to the CDCB in June and July 2018 as part of the outbreak investigation. They were 19 females and 12 males with an age range of 22 to 87 years old. Days unwell ranged from two to 23 and there was a high hospitalization rate with 13 people going to hospital.
“This suggests that either there might have been a high dose of contamination on the alfalfa sprouts or the outbreak strain might be more pathogenic than other Salmonella strains, thus leading to a higher burden of disease for this specific strain,” said researchers.