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J Food Prot. 2010 Mar;73(3):529-34.

Lessons learned from the management of a national outbreak of Salmonella ohio linked to pork meat processing and distribution.

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National Reference Centre for Salmonella and Shigella, Scientific Institute of Public Health, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium.


During the summer of 2005, an increase in reports of human cases of Salmonella enterica serovar Ohio infection was observed in Belgium. During 11 weeks, between 1 July and 13 September, 60 cases of laboratory-confirmed Salmonella Ohio infection were reported to the National Reference Centre for Salmonella, with a peak onset of symptoms in the third week of July. All clinical isolates caused self-limiting gastroenteritis; both genders (32 males and 28 females) and all age groups (three children <5 years of age, three children 5 to 14 years of age, 32 adults 15 to 64 years of age, and 22 adults >65 years of age) were affected. The isolates were distributed throughout Belgium but a cluster of several cases was observed around Brussels. At the same time, an increase in the incidence of this serovar was observed in the Salmonella isolates originating from the official surveillance campaign conducted by the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain, which identified pork as a likely source of the outbreak strain. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis typing confirmed the clonal relationship between the human isolates, the isolates from samples collected in the cutting plants, and the isolates from pork meat in distribution. Further epidemiological investigations indicated that one particular slaughterhouse was involved. In that slaughterhouse, the carcasses were contaminated during the evisceration process because of contaminated equipment and uncontrolled environmental conditions. This study highlights the importance of a centralized surveillance laboratory in the management of outbreaks and the need of strict implementation of hygienic rules to avoid this type of outbreak.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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