Investigation of a Food Poisoning Outbreak in a Private Hostel in Kanchipuram District, Tamilnadu
Food borne disease can be defined as any disease of an infectious or toxic nature caused by the consumption of food or water(1). The investigation was carried out after receiving information on food poisoning cases from the RMO of SMCH among the inmates of a private women’s hostel.
Methodology: Epidemiological case sheet was prepared and details from the affected individuals were obtained. On the same day, the kitchen and the mess were inspected and food handlers were examined.
Findings of the Outbreak: During the investigation, it was found that among the 120 inmates who consumed the dinner, 79(65.8%) inmates developed symptoms of food poisoning and 41(34.2%) inmates did not develop any symptoms. Diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, nausea and vomiting were the symptoms and the incubation period ranged between 3–38 hours.
Among those who developed symptoms, 30(37.9%) inmates were hospitalised for conservative management while 49(62.1%) inmates rested in the hostel, resorted to self medications. All of them completely recovered within 3 days.
Conclusion: Curd rice is the food item suspected to be contaminated and probable source for food poisoning outbreak. Based on the signs and symptoms of the inmates, incubation period ranging between 3–38 hours, enquiry findings and clinical examination of the employees presumably the suspected causative agent of the outbreak could be due to Salmonella.
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