More than 450 outbreaks were recorded in Lithuania this past year, according to the Center for Communicable Diseases and AIDS (ULAC).

ULAC data shows there were 459 outbreaks in 2019 with 1,204 people affected, of which more than half — 805 — were treated in hospitals.

Of these outbreaks, 410 were classed as familial and 49 as widespread. From the latter, 39 were related to children’s educational institutions and five were linked to food businesses.

The largest outbreak with 39 patients was recorded in a childcare facility that spread through contaminated food and because of a lack of proper hygiene.

The most common causes were rotavirus, norovirus, and Salmonella, but more than half could not be identified. Main factors in transmission were lack of hygiene and contaminated food such as chicken and egg products.

Outbreaks were registered in all parts of the country, but most reports were received from Kaunas, Vilnius, Panevėžys and Klaipėda. Almost a quarter were recorded in cities with the rest in villages. Most outbreaks occurred in March, April and May.

Salmonella detail
From 2010 to 2019, 82 cases of listeriosis were reported in the country with six in 2019. In this period, 19 people died due to listeriosis including two deaths in 2019.

ULAC data shows 747 people had salmonellosis in 2019 which is 49 less than the year before. Children up to six years of age were most commonly affected.

Although the incidence of salmonellosis in Lithuania is decreasing every year it was higher than the average from European Union countries. Seven outbreaks were investigated in preschools.

According to the State Food and Veterinary Service (VMVT), in recent years outbreaks of salmonellosis in public catering establishments have fallen by more than 50 percent, but the agency warned against complacency.

In 2020, up to mid-October, VMVT had banned the supply of about 160 tons of what it called unsafe poultry to the Lithuanian market. Inspectors found that most affected products came from Poland. From 40 batches of implicated poultry, 34 originated in Poland, four in Hungary and two in Romania.

No pathogens have yet been detected in Lithuanian poultry meat this year, according to VMVT. However, in the first half of the year, 111 poultry flocks were tested with three positives for Salmonella.

Picture in 2020
More than 4,000 intestinal diseases were registered in the first quarter of this year. They were caused by viruses such as rotavirus and norovirus and bacteria like Salmonella, Campylobacter and Yersinia.

Sixty outbreaks of foodborne illness were recorded in 1Q 2020, far less than the 133 outbreaks in the same period in 2019.

The decrease compared to the same period last year may have been influenced by social restrictions during quarantine because of COVID-19, according to ULAC.

A total of 134 people became ill during the first quarter of the year, of which more than half were treated in hospitals. The agent was unknown for two-thirds of all outbreaks but close to 30 percent were caused by norovirus, rotavirus and Salmonella.

Incidents were registered in all territories of the country but mainly in Kaunas and Vilnius. About eight out of 10 of all outbreaks occurred in a family setting.

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