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Commun Dis Public Health. 1998 Sep;1(3):165-71.

General outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease in England and Wales: 1995 and 1996.

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PHLS Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, London.


One thousand nine hundred and nineteen general outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease in England and Wales were reported to the PHLS Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre (CDSC) between 1 January 1995 and 31 December 1996, compared with 1073 in the previous two years. A minimum data set was received for 1568 (82%) of the 1919 outbreaks. Over 40,000 people were affected and about 2% of those who were ill were admitted to hospital. Seventy-one deaths were reported. The duration of outbreaks varied between less than one day and 202 days (median six days) according to the pathogen. Small round structured virus (SRSV) (43%) and salmonellas (15%) were the most commonly reported pathogens. In almost a quarter of the outbreaks (24%) the aetiology was unknown. Over half the outbreaks (64%) were reported to be transmitted from person to person, most of which were due to SRSV and occurred in residential homes and hospitals. Twenty-two per cent of outbreaks were described as mainly foodborne, 51% of which were due to salmonellas. The number of outbreaks reported in each region ranged from 52 in Wales to 512 in Northern and Yorkshire.

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