Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 517-521

Outbreak of food poisoning in a working men's hostel: A retrospective cohort study

Department of Community Medicine, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Anurag Khera
Department of Community Medicine, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune - 411 040, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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Introduction: Food poisoning is an acute gastroenteritis caused by ingestion of food or drink contaminated with either living bacteria or their toxins or inorganic chemical substances and poisons derived from plants and animals, commonly occurring as explosive outbreaks. The authors investigated an outbreak of food poisoning reported from a working men's hostel in urban area of Pune, Maharashtra. Materials and Methods: A retrospective cohort study design was adopted to investigate the outbreak. Of the total 170 members, 68 had symptoms of food poisoning. Remaining 102 unexposed members were also interviewed as part of the study. Data for environmental and laboratory parameters were also collected. Results: The point source outbreak indicated cooked chicken as the source with a risk ratio of 3.34 (95% confidence interval: 2.02–5.54) and attributable fraction for chicken was 75.3%. As is the case with 70% of food poisoning outbreaks, laboratory confirmation of causative organism could not be established, due to lack of specimens. However, the clinicoepidemiological profile of the patients displays a median incubation period of 8 h (range 5–17 h), along with the clinical symptomatology of a self-limiting disease of diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and nausea; suggested the implicating organisms to be either Clostridium perfringens or Bacillus cereus. Conclusion: The defaulting environmental parameters of compromised sanitary conditions, inadequate storage in refrigerator, improper storage of raw food, and unsafe cooking practices were enhancing factors, which need to be mandatorily addressed in bulk cooking.

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