Fatal Spanish Salmonella Outbreak Under Investigation

Fatal Spanish Salmonella Outbreak

More information has come to light about a deadly outbreak of Salmonella in Spain in 2022.

The outbreak occurred at the Geriàtric Aragó care home in Barcelona. According to officials, it started in July 2022 and affected 39 residents, of which 15 were hospitalized and eight died.

Additional information was revealed in documents from the Parliament of Catalonia in response to a question on action taken by the Departament de Drets Socials (Department of Social Rights).

An investigation is ongoing by the Fiscalía Provincial de Barcelona, the local prosecutor’s office.

In March 2022, an inspection was carried out to collect information concerning a complaint submitted in February by a resident’s family. No irregularities were detected from the documentation and observations made during the visit. Another check was undertaken in May due to a separate complaint, but no related non-compliances were found.

Outbreak notice
In September, information was received about an outbreak of salmonellosis. A report from the Agència de Salut Pública de Barcelona (ASPB), the public health agency in Barcelona, noted shortcomings relating to the cleaning conditions of the center, as well as limited information about the outbreak that began in July, with cases also detected in September.

In October, another inspection found a lack of detail from the center about the outbreak. Changes had been introduced at the request of public health officials around cleaning and recordkeeping.

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A follow-up inspection one month later listed several violations related to hygiene and cleaning protocols. In December, disciplinary proceedings were initiated. In the same month, public prosecutors in Barcelona requested information on inspections at the center since 2020.

In 2023, three visits were made in February, April, and July. The first was to follow up on the issues that led to sanctions in December.

The April visit followed the receipt of an evaluation report from ASPB. One finding was that the center did not have an accredited person in sanitary hygiene. This was rectified by the time of another check later in April.

In July, a letter was sent to the owners of Geriatric Aragón, setting out actions to reverse shortcomings. Later that same month, another inspection led to a written warning that demanded certain things be addressed.

A total of 8,777 Salmonella infections were reported in Spain in 2022. The top Salmonella serotype was Typhimurium, followed by Enteritidis, according to National Epidemiological Surveillance Network (RENAVE) data.

There were 258 outbreaks with 1,332 cases and 185 hospitalizations. Eggs and egg products were implicated in 94 outbreaks.

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