§ Lord Palmer
asked Her Majesty's Government:
By how much salmonella food poisoning has decreased in 1998 compared with 1997; and for what reasons. [HL3326]
§ Baroness Hayman
Data collected by the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) shows that the number of laboratory confirmed cases ofsalmonella in England and Wales fell from 32,596 in 1997 to a provisional figure of 23,420 in 1998.
Not all salmonella infections are the result of food poisoning. Some infections are spread, for example, from person to person or through direct contact with animals or their waste. In outbreak situations investigations often discover a likely common source of infection. However, because the vast majority of infections are isolated sporadic cases, it is not always possible to identify the source of infection.
The PHLS and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency are currently investigating the factors that may explain the recent trends in salmonella infections in England and Wales, and this research will be published in due course.