Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Changed habits leave a mark on 2020 salmonella source account

Thursday 09 Dec 21


Tine Marianne Hald
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 70 94

For the first time in years, travel abroad was not the leading cause of salmonella infections among Danes in 2020, according to new figures from the DTU National Food Institute.

Behavioural changes due to corona in 2020 had an impact on the salmonella source account for the year. The source account estimates what proportion of registered salmonella infections in Denmark can be attributed to various sources. Researchers from the National Food Institute have prepared the figures.

The total number of salmonella cases fell by almost half in 2020 compared with the previous year.

For many years, travel abroad has been the leading cause of salmonella infections. However, because Danes travelled far less in 2020 due to the corona restrictions, travel abroad was the cause of just under 20% of the total number (614) of salmonella infections.

Normally, about half of the registered infections are travel related.

In 2020, Danish pork was estimated to be the food source that caused most salmonella infections. 22% of all illness cases were attributed to Danish pork, followed by imported pork and duck meat (accounting for 9% and 6% of cases respectively).

If you make a direct comparison between the 2019 and 2020 figures, there has been a large percentage increase in the number of salmonella cases caused by Danish pork from 8% in 2019 to 22% in 2020.

However, the primary reason for the relatively large increase is the fact that the number of travel related cases plummeted (from 419 to 111) between 2019 and 2020. The absolute increase in the number of cases attributed to Danish pork is significantly smaller, but is still an increase.

Read more

Study the salmonella source account in further detail by reading an appendix to the zoonosis report for 2020: Trends and sources in human salmonellosis 2020. Zoonoses are diseases that can be transmitted from animals and food to humans.

Read the annual report on zoonoses in Denmark: Annual Report on Zoonoses in Denmark 2020 (pdf). You can also read about the findings from 2020 report in a press release: Corona restrictions lead to fewer cases of foodborne illness.