Epidemiology and outcomes of medically attended and microbiologically confirmed bacterial foodborne infections in solid organ transplant recipients

Am J Transplant. 2022 Jan;22(1):199-209. doi: 10.1111/ajt.16831. Epub 2021 Sep 20.


Food-safety measures are recommended to solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients. However, the burden of foodborne infections in SOT recipients has not been established. We describe the epidemiology and outcomes of bacterial foodborne infections in a nationwide cohort including 4405 SOT recipients in Switzerland between 2008 and 2018. Participants were prospectively followed for a median of 4.2 years with systematic collection of data on infections, and patient and graft-related outcomes. We identified 151 episodes of microbiologically confirmed bacterial foodborne infections occurring in median 1.6 years (IQR 0.58-3.40) after transplantation (131 [88%] Campylobacter spp. and 15 [10%] non-typhoidal Salmonella). The cumulative incidence of bacterial foodborne infections was 4% (95% CI 3.4-4.8). Standardized incidence rates were 7.4 (95% CI 6.2-8.7) and 4.6 (95% CI 2.6-7.5) for Campylobacter and Salmonella infections, respectively. Invasive infection was more common with Salmonella (33.3% [5/15]) compared to Campylobacter (3.2% [4/125]; p = .001). Hospital and ICU admission rates were 47.7% (69/145) and 4.1% (6/145), respectively. A composite endpoint of acute rejection, graft loss, or death occurred within 30 days in 3.3% (5/151) of cases. In conclusion, in our cohort bacterial foodborne infections were late post-transplant infections and were associated with significant morbidity, supporting the need for implementation of food-safety recommendations.

Keywords: clinical research/practice; complication: infectious; epidemiology; infection and infectious agents - bacterial; infectious disease; patient safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections* / epidemiology
  • Bacterial Infections* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Organ Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Transplant Recipients