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The number of people suffering from campylobacteriosis in the European Union dropped for the first time in five years in 2012 but it remains the most common foodborne disease, a new report released jointly by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) claims.

Overall, there were 214,000 cases of campylobacteriosis in the EU in 2012. The disease is most frequently transferred to humans through improper handling of chicken meat. According to Marta Hugas, acting head of EFSA's Risk Assessment and Scientific Assistance Department, the fact that the number of campylobacteriosis cases had dropped was encouraging but it was too early to talk about a downward trend.

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Other common foodborne diseases like salmonellosis and listeriosis have recorded contrasting developments. While the number of people affected by Salmonella strains has been steadily falling for seven years now, cases of Listeria have been going up over the past four years, the report said. The number of diseases caused by Salmonella in 2012 stood at 91,034. Although this is still quite a significant figure, salmonellosis rates have been falling, mostly because of the strict prevention measures that have been implemented across the food supply chain in the EU. By contrast, listeriosis cases have been going up in the past few years, reaching 1,642 in 2012, a 10.5% increase year-on-year.