Kebabs containing contaminated chicken blamed for Salmonella outbreak

Four Irish people have been hospitalised in the outbreak affecting five EU states, according to the ECDC

Kebab products containing contaminated chicken have been blamed for a persistent food poisoning outbreak in Ireland and four other EU states, which has been highlighted by the European health watchdog.

A total of 210 cases of Salmonella Virchow ST16 have been reported since mid-2017, including four in Ireland, according to the European Centre for Disease Control.

All four Irish cases - one man and three women - were hospitalised, the highest rate for any country. None of the Irish cases involved international travel. Two of the cases, which date back to 2017 and 2018, reported contact with pet dogs and one lived on a cattle farm.

No deaths have been recorded in any of the countries where the outbreak is occurring.


Most cases in the EU, UK and US have been linked to local restaurants serving kebab meat, the ECDC reported in an outbreak assessment on Wednesday.

It says the clone has been circulating in the EU poultry meat production in Ireland, France, Germany and the Netherlands. In the absence of batch numbers for the contaminated products, the source of the infections could not be established.

The watchdog says countries should sequence samples of Salmonella Virchow and interview cases. The number of confirmed cases represents only a small proportion of all infections in the EU, it says, partly due to the varying sequencing capacities of countries.

Further infections are likely to occur until the points of contamination in the food chain are identified, it warns.

France has recorded the highest number of cases so far, at 111, followed by the Netherlands (34), Germany (26), Ireland (4), Denmark (2) and the US (1).

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is Health Editor of The Irish Times