Daily Maverick

Lactalis Salmonella cases suspected in Spain, Greece

An infant who fell sick after drinking milk from the French group Lactalis contaminated with Salmonella bacteria has been reported in Spain and another case is being investigated in Greece, French health authorities said Friday. 

The cases are the first outside of France in a gathering scandal that has seen 35 children sickened in France from contaminated milk powder sold by the maker of a host of household dairy products.

“The two cases involved children who drank the milk in question,” said François-Xavier Weill, a bacteriologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, confirming a report in the Eurosurveillance medical journal.

The Spanish case had been confirmed DNA testing, Weill told AFP.

“The Greek case has not, but the signs are there,” he said, adding that so far only phenotype testing had been carried out to compare the bacteria strain of the Lactalis product with the strain in the child. 

“We can only confirm if it is the same strain with DNA testing” currently underway, he said.

The current conditions of the two children were not disclosed.

The Eurosurveillance report, signed by 16 scientists at the Pasteur Institute as well as France’s public health agency, notes that the contaminated Lactalis products were exported “to 66 countries, including 12 in the European Union”.

Alerts were issued for the concerned countries in early after French inspectors descended on Lactalis’s Craon factory where the outbreak was traced to.

In France, 35 infected children have been reported, and among the 18 who were hospitalised, all have been released and are doing fine, the health agency said. DM

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