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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 29-34

Outbreak of food borne Salmonella among guests of a wedding ceremony: The role of cultural factors

1 Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Dammam, Saudi Arabia
2 King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Preventive Medicine, Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Abdullah S Aljoudi
P.O. Box 31987, Al-Khobar 31952
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1319-1683.68786

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Objective: In response to a large number of cases of gastroenteritis reporting to Sulyyel hospital, an outbreak investigation was conducted to identify its source, to assess its extent and to make recommendations on the prevention of such outbreaks in the future. Material and Methods: A case was defined as any individual who developed diarrhea with any of the following symptoms: Abdominal pain, fever or vomiting within three days of eating at the wedding ceremony. A retrospective cohort study was conducted to identify food items and circumstances responsible for this outbreak. Results: A total of 283 individuals were interviewed, 88 of whom developed gastroenteritis, most commonly manifested by diarrhea (100%), abdominal pain (94.3%) and fever (86.4%). The majority of persons interviewed were Saudis (89.1%) and 21.6% were males. The median incubation period was 20.6 ΁ 2.77 hours and the epidemic curve suggested a common point source outbreak. Out of 9 food items and drinks served at the wedding ceremony, 3 food items were significantly associated with illness: meat ranked first (RR=16.7, 95% CI=2.37-115.8), followed by rice (RR=13.6 95% CI=1.95-93.61), and restaurant made sweets (RR=1.9, 95% CI=1.35-2.58). Out of 62 stool samples collected from cases, 40 (64.5 %) grew Salmonella group C non-typhoid. Conclusion: Salmonella was considered the causative agent of this food-borne outbreak. Meat and rice served at the wedding party were the food items incriminated. Time, temperature misuse, inadequate heat treatment, and unhygienic handling were the most important factors causing this outbreak.

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Journal of Family and Community Medicine | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
Online since 05th September, 2010