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Emerg Infect Dis. 2002 Jan;8(1):19-22.

The dioxin crisis as experiment to determine poultry-related campylobacter enteritis.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Institute of Public Health-Louis Pasteur, Brussels, Belgium.


In June 1999, the dioxin crisis, caused by dioxin-contaminated feed components, exploded in Belgium, resulting in withdrawal of chicken and eggs from the market. Through the sentinel surveillance system, a decrease in Campylobacter infections during June 1999 was noticed. A model was generated with the reports from preceding years (1994 to 1998), and a prediction of the number of infections in 1999 was calculated. The model shows a significant decline (40%) in the number of infections, mainly because of the withdrawal of poultry. The use of a disaster as an epidemiologic tool offers a unique opportunity to observe exceptional changes in the occurrence of infections or other diseases.

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