Finland reported a record number of Listeria infections last year using the figure almost twice as high as 2019.
The 93 Listeria infections in 2020 were almost double the 50 in the year before and the largest annual total ever reported to the National Infectious Diseases Register. Nearly 80 infections were listed in 2018 and 90 in 2017.
Nearly all bacterial diseases decreased significantly in 2020 by mid-March due to measures put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic, based on information released by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).
The THL is responsible for the monitoring, prevention and control of infectious diseases in Finland. Physicians and laboratories report findings on infectious diseases to the National Infectious Diseases Register maintained by the agency.
Listeria infections have increased since 2009. In Finland, insecure foods incorporate dry-cured and cold-smoked fish goods. In total, 58 percent of patients were greater than 70 years old and 47 were men.
Campylobacter is the most frequent bacterial cause of gastrointestinal infections in Finland. In 2020, 2,074 infections were reported on the register. This is just under half what it was in 2019, but the talk of diseases of domestic origin was higher than previous years.
Most diseases were reported in people aged 45 to 54 years old and prevalence was highest in July.
“Last year, travel restrictions may have increased the share of domestic infections, but their number has already been on the rise since 2010. More information is still needed on the origin of infections so that prevention measures can be better targeted,” said Tuula Hannila-Handelberg, chief doctor at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.
Listeria outbreak investigations
Suspected food and waterborne outbreaks were delivered to a system controlled by THL along with the Finnish Food Authority (Ruokavirasto). In total, 58 notifications were created in contrast to 81 in 2019. Several other disease clusters were also identified.
During 2020, 10 different listeriosis clusters have been investigated. In one, 23 people fell ill from 2016 to 2020 around Finland. An investigation found an epidemiological and microbiological association between sickness and a meat firm. Isolates from patients were similar to strains isolated in the products of a meat establishment at 2017 and 2020. Listeria was detected at the plant’s merchandise