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J Int Med Res. 1985;13(4):241-4.

Food poisoning--fact or fiction? An observation of the current interpretation of the term 'food-poisoning'.


The Communicable Disease Report number 84/52 has given a clear indication that Campylobacter infections are now the most significant reported causes of gastrointestinal infection. The figures given indicate approximately 22,000 Campylobacter infections in 1984 as opposed to approximately 14,000 Salmonella infections, with, more importantly, the trend increasing with regard to Campylobacter, and decreasing with regard to Salmonella infections. Campylobacter enteritis would now appear to be a major problem both in terms of human suffering and in its economic effects. It is reported, for example, that at least 80,000 working days may be lost in the United Kingdom per year. The fundamental problem raised by Campylobacter enteritis is whether we need to have a standardized definition of food poisoning accepted in law to allow central government and local authorities to manage in particular the problems related to Campylobacter enteritis. From information available, it appears that local authorities have differing interpretations as to the classification and subsequent management of Campylobacter enteritis. In order to control the identified trend in the increase of Campylobacter infections, the need for a clear and explicit definition is rapidly becoming essential.

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