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J Infect Dis. 1993 Feb;167(2):451-4.

A massive outbreak of type E botulism associated with traditional salted fish in Cairo.

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Enteric Diseases Branch, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA 30333.


In April 1991, 91 hospitalized patients in Cairo were reported to the Egyptian Ministry of Health with botulism intoxication. To define the spectrum of illness and identify a food vehicle, 45 patients were interviewed and a case-control investigation was conducted among families of 5 hospitalized patients. Clinical specimens and specimens of implicated food were tested for toxin and cultured for Clostridium botulinum. Hospitalized patients had symptoms consistent with botulism; 18 (20%) of 91 reported patients died. Illness was associated with eating faseikh (uneviscerated, salted mullet fish; lower 95% confidence limit of odds ratio = 6.6, P < .001). All 5 case-families purchased faseikh from one shop. Very high levels of type E botulinal toxin were detected in faseikh reported to be purchased from the implicated shop; C. botulinum type E was isolated from cultures of clinical specimens and from the faseikh. This is the first documented outbreak of botulism in Egypt and the largest type E outbreak ever reported.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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