UK: 17% drop in human cases of campylobacter
New figures from UK surveillance bodies show a 17% decline in the number of laboratory reports of human cases of campylobacter in 2016.
Levels of campylobacter in chicken continue to decline, as demonstrated in the first set of results from the third year survey of campylobacter on fresh shop-bought whole chickens.
The results for the first five months of the third retail survey, from August to December 2016, show:
Overall, 7% of chickens tested positive for campylobacter within the highest band of contamination. Among the nine retailers with the highest market share, 5% of chickens tested positive for campylobacter within the highest band of contamination. The results show a decrease in the number of birds with the highest level of contamination compared to the same months in 2015 and 2014. The new data show 7% of chickens tested positive for the highest level of contamination, down from 12% for the same period in 2015 and 20% in 2014. Research has shown that reducing the proportion of birds in this category will have the biggest positive impact on public health.
The percentage of chickens that tested positive for the presence of campylobacter at any level is 56%, down from 66% in 2015 and 78% in 2014. This includes samples with very low levels of campylobacter, which would be unlikely to cause illness.