Children under four have highest incidence of dangerous bacteria


CHILDREN UNDER four present the highest incidence of illness from the campylobacter bacteria which causes food poisoning, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland said yesterday.

The authority’s scientific committee published a report recommending increased controls by poultry producers, retailers and consumers to reduce illness.

The bacteria found in the intestinal tract of birds causes four times more illness than salmonella in Ireland, the authority said.

Campylobacter can cause acute gastroenteritis and can be life-threatening in vulnerable people, the authority said.

More than 1,600 cases were reported in Ireland last year but the reality was much higher as there was “substantial under-reporting”, authority chief executive Prof Alan Reilly said. “What is particularly worrying is that we are seeing one-to-four-year-old Irish children having the highest incidence of the illness. There were 165 cases per 100,000 of the population within that age group reported in 2009,” Prof Reilly said.