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Celebrating 25 years of public health impact


     

Anniversary collection 

Eurosurveillance, 1996 to 2021: 25 years of public health impact

Over the past 25 years, Eurosurveillance has served the public health and communicable disease communities in Europe and beyond by publishing authoritative, sound evidence for immediate and long-term public health action. To mark the occasion, we have compiled an anniversary collection of 25 articles published since the journal’s inception: Eurosurveillance, 1996 to 2021: 25 years of public health impact, as well as a Note from the editors announcing its launch. Follow along over the year as we take a closer look at the featured articles, providing further context and information about their impact on public health practice and policy.

 

Food-borne outbreak investigations 

Driving international collaboration and real-time communication

According to estimates from the World Health Organization, contaminated food—whether caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins or chemicals—leads to illnesses in more than 600 million people every year, causing 420,000 deaths. 

Over the past 25 years, Eurosurveillance has highlighted and facilitated necessary international collaboration by supporting timely communication surrounding food-borne disease outbreaks. Our anniversary collection, Eurosurveillance, 2006–2021: 25 years of public health impact, includes a selection of articles that demonstrate the journal’s impact on food safety as an important area of public health.

In 1997, the journal published a ‘
Preliminary report of an international outbreak of Salmonella anatum infection linked to an infant formula milk’ that, according to Noel Gill of the UK Health Security Agency and on of the former editors of Eurosurveillance weekly, demonstrated collaboration between national surveillance institutions based on the knowledge that "the expansion of distribution networks for foodstuffs required real-time international communications between public health practitioners to most effectively investigate particular foodborne disease outbreaks.” 

Eurosurveillance associate editors Henriette de Valk and Karl Kristinsson drew our attention to the rapid communication 'Large and ongoing outbreak of haemolytic uraemic syndrome, Germany, May 2011' included in the anniversary collection. According to de Valk the publication "prompted immediate modifications and strengthening of shiga toxin-producing Eschericha coli and haemolytic uraemic syndrome surveillance in France. It also enabled the French team to make the link with the outbreak in Germany, and contribute to the final identification of the exact type of sprouts at the origin of these outbreaks." On the French investigation: ‘Outbreak of haemolytic uraemic syndrome and bloody diarrhoea due to Escherichia coli O104:H4, south-west France, June 2011’. Both noted that the initial German rapid communication, published in May 2011, prompted similar improvements to surveillance activities in several countries, with de Valk adding that “several further publications—many of which were published in Eurosurveillance—of investigations and findings in other, mostly European, countries followed and all contributed to the rapid sharing of new information and knowledge on this poorly known pathogen.”

Two other papers are included in the collection focus on food-borne outbreak investigations. One of them from 2007, ‘An outbreak of multi-resistant Shigella sonnei in Australia: possible link to the outbreak of shigellosis in Denmark associated with imported baby corn from Thailand’, followed an outbreak investigation reported in Eurosurveillance which raised awareness among Australian authorities about a possible common source of the two outbreaks at a time when real-time outbreak communication was still somewhat rare. For Franz Allerberger from the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety, the article ‘Listeriosis outbreak caused by acid curd cheese ‘Quargel’, Austria and Germany 2009’, highlights the value of routine molecular typing of Listeria isolates and the potential of cross-border cooperation to help identify chains of infections. The authors concluded that the listeriosis outbreak probably would not have been detected without molecular typing, which became widely accepted among Austrian public health authorities afterwards.

On the occasion of World Food Safety Day, observed annually on 7 June, visit our anniversary collection to read these articles and more.

 
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