Introduction – On 29 August 2008, the National Reference Laboratory for Salmonella reported the occurrence of four cases of a rare salmonellosis serotype Putten. The strains were isolated by laboratories located in northwestern France. An investigation was performed to seek a common source of exposure.
Method – The persons for whom Salmonella Putten had been isolated between 15 July and 15 September (confirmed cases) and the symptomatic persons around them (probable cases) were interviewed by telephone.
Results – Nine cases were identified, including one probable case. They occurred between 25 July and 10 August, and had stayed in four districts of north-western France. Two cases were hospitalized.
All cases had consumed fresh beef minced steaks, mostly raw. Most of them reported purchasing products in stores of the same brand, which were supplied by a bovine meat processing plant located in western France. Internal controls at the plant identified serotype Putten on two lots of ground beef produced on 24 July and 6 August.
Conclusion – This episode confirms, once again, that insufficiently cooked ground bovine meat can play a major role in the occurrence of salmonellosis, and that beef minced steaks should be very well cooked especially when prepared for at-risk persons.