Most Important Pathogens

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Changed on: 28.06.2021


The main source of infections for foodborne diseases are raw or insufficiently heated poultry, pork, beef and game, as well as unpasteurised milk. Deep freezing does not destroy campylobacter, the pathogen is only destroyed when heated up to temperatures of more than 70° C.



Diarrhoea caused by salmonella is found around the globe. Salmonella are primarily transmitted by consuming raw or insufficiently heated food of animal origin (eggs, poultry, meat and milk).


Escherichia coli including Verotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC)

E. coli bacteria are part of the normal intestinal flora of warm-blooded animals and humans. Verotoxin-producing Escherichia (E.) coli (VTEC) are characterised by their ability to produce specific toxins. They can cause severe diarrhoea in humans, among other things. The terms Verotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC), Shigatoxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) are used synonymously.



Listeria are undemanding and resistant bacteria with regard to their habitat. Due to their ability to grow at low temperatures, which is unusual for bacteria, listeria can also multiply in the refrigerator.



Noroviruses can be found worldwide. They are responsible for the majority of non-bacterial diarrhoea cases in children and adults. The virus causes both sporadic infections, as well as outbreaks characterised by the extremely rapid spread of the pathogen.