Over 120 cases of salmonella have been reported since 2019 in Germany (68 cases), Sweden (37 cases), Norway (5 cases), Denmark (9 cases), and the Netherlands (2 cases). Cases have also been reported in the United States and Canada. The salmonella outbreak is linked to sesame products (tahini and halva) imported from Syria. Fourteen batches have tested positive for one or more of the Salmonella-outbreak strains. Tahini is a paste made from raw sesame seeds. Halva is a confectionery product that contains a high percentage of sesame seeds.
The recurrent occurrence of cases and the repeated discovery of positive samples since 2019 indicate that contaminated sesame-based products have been circulating in the EU market for more than two years.
Consequences for travelers
Considering the limited information on the production and distribution of the sesame products from Syria, there is still a risk of new salmonella infections in the EU/European Economic Area. Caution should be shown when consuming these products (tahini, halva).
All travellers should have completed a basic immunisation and boosters according to the Swiss vaccination schedule, LINK.
Travellers should be immune to chickenpox. Persons between 11 and 40 years of age who have not had chickenpox should be vaccinated (2 doses with minimum interval of 4-6 weeks).
There is a risk of arthropod-borne diseases other than malaria, dengue, chikungunya or zika in sub-/tropical regions, and some areas of Southern Europe. These include the following diseases [and their vectors]: