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In spring 2016, Greece reported an outbreak caused by a previously undescribed subsp. serotype (antigenic formula 11:z41:e,n,z15) via the Epidemic Intelligence Information System for Food- and Waterborne Diseases and Zoonoses (EPIS-FWD), with epidemiological evidence for sesame products as presumptive vehicle. Subsequently, Germany, Czech Republic, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom (UK) reported infections with this novel serotype via EPIS-FWD. Concerned countries in collaboration with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) adopted a common outbreak case definition. An outbreak case was defined as a laboratory-confirmed notification of the novel serotype. Between March 2016 and April 2017, 47 outbreak cases were notified (Greece: n = 22; Germany: n = 13; Czech Republic: n = 5; Luxembourg: n = 4; UK: n = 3). Whole genome sequencing revealed the very close genetic relatedness of isolates from all affected countries. Interviews focusing on sesame product consumption, suspicious food item testing and trace-back analysis following spp. detection in food products identified a company in Greece where sesame seeds from different countries were processed. Through European collaboration, it was possible to identify and recall sesame spread as one contaminated food item serving as vehicle of infection and trace it back to its origin.


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