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Commun Dis Rep CDR Rev. 1997 Jun 27;7(7):R101-3.

Outbreak of small round structured virus gastroenteritis arose after kitchen assistant vomited.

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  • 1North Yorkshire Health Authority, York.


A wedding reception at a North Yorkshire hotel was followed by an explosive outbreak of gastroenteritis. The attack rate among the 111 guests was 50% and vomiting was a predominant feature. The results of laboratory and epidemiological investigations were consistent with a common source outbreak of small round structured virus (SRSV) infection genotype II. The source of the outbreak was traced to a kitchen assistant who suddenly became ill on the eve of the reception and vomited into a sink used for preparing vegetables. The sink was cleaned with a chlorine based disinfectant and used the next morning to prepare a potato salad, subsequently identified as the vehicle of infection in a cohort study of guests (odds ratio 3.21; CI 1.78-5.78, p = 0.0001). No other food was associated with illness. The outbreak provides further supporting evidence of the importance of vomiting in the transmission of SRSV infection, highlights the virulence of this group of viruses, and indicates their relative resistance to environmental disinfection and decontamination. It also highlights the need for the adequate training of catering staff and the implementation and enforcement of food hygiene regulations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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