The animal health industry plays a key role in livestock protection as a provider of tools to help prevent, control and manage animal diseases affecting Europe’s farming community. Thanks to these tools (vaccines and medicines) Europe has been successful in managing animal diseases such as salmonella, bluetongue or foot and mouth disease which just years ago posed serious threats to animal health, food safety and public health.
The industry remains acutely aware of future critical challenges however and strives to continue developing advanced solutions that protect both animal and human health. Below you will find links to a number of fact sheets outlining some of the successes experienced thanks to animal health products.
In the EU, Salmonella is the most frequently reported cause of food-borne outbreaks, with eggs and products made with raw eggs being the most important food vehicles in these outbreaks.
The disease symptoms may vary. Infections by serotypes, like Salmonella enteritidis and Salmonella typhimurium, only cause moderate symptoms in poultry, whereas infections in people result in nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps or diarrhea. Headache and fatigue are also possible. These symptoms can be severe, especially in young children and the elderly. S.enteritidis and S.typhimurium are the most frequently reported serotypes. In 2009 75.6% of all people-confirmed cases were attributed to these two types.
In the EU, legislation requires that eggs from flocks that are (suspected of being) infected with Salmonella serotypes with a potential public health significance may only be used for human consumption if treated in a manner that guarantees the destruction of all Salmonella serotypes. In 2010 a Salmonella infection on two US-layer farms resulted in a nationwide recall of more than 0.5 billion eggs.
EFSA has estimated that the overall economic burden of human salmonellosis could be as high as EUR 3 billion a year. In the EU, 95,548 confirmed human cases were reported in 2011, representing a statistically significant decreasing trend as compared to 195,947 cases in 2004. This substantial reduction represents major material cost-savings in primary medical care, hospitalisation, sick-leave and lost productivity.
Vaccines that protect poultry against Salmonella infections are available. If correctly used, these vaccines are important elements of effective Salmonella control programmes. The success of Salmonella vaccination is observed in all countries where these vaccines have been used appropriately and is confirmed by reports by corresponding authorities.
In some quality assurance programs, like the Lion Code in the UK, the use of Salmonella-vaccines is obligatory. In the UK a major reduction in the incidence of human salmonellosis was observed after vaccination against S. enteritidis was introduced in a large part of the UK egg industry.