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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(2), 547-557; doi:10.3390/ijerph6020547
Article

A Study of 279 General Outbreaks of Gastrointestinal Infection in the North-East Region of England

1,* , 2
 and
3
1 HPA North East, Newcastle Laboratory, Institute of Pathology, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE4 6BE, UK 2 County Durham and Tees Valley Health Protection Unit, Appleton House, Lanchester Road, Durham DH1 5XZ, UK 3 County Durham and Tees Valley Health Protection Unit, Poole House, Stokesley Road, Middlesbrough TS7 0NJ, UK
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 October 2008 / Accepted: 3 February 2009 / Published: 5 February 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
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Abstract

All outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease reported to the authorities were entered on a computer database with outbreak control teams being established to investigate larger or more significant incidents. The outbreak database and, when set up, the notes of outbreak team meetings were examined for the 279 outbreaks reported in a three-year period (2003-2005). Faeces specimens submitted as part of an outbreak were examined for microbial pathogens and the results cross-matched to the outbreak number. Almost half of the general outbreaks reported (137) occurred in long-term care facilities for the elderly, 51 outbreaks were recorded in hospitals and 31 occurred in the wider community. In 76 outbreaks no specimen was logged. A microbial cause was confirmed in about one-third of outbreaks, with noroviruses being the most common (19%). Salmonellas accounted for 12 of the 21 community outbreaks linked to social events and all were foodborne. Suggestions for improving notification and surveillance are discussed.
Keywords: Foodborne disease; outbreak; surveillance Foodborne disease; outbreak; surveillance
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Tebbutt, G.M.; Wilson, D.; Holtby, I. A Study of 279 General Outbreaks of Gastrointestinal Infection in the North-East Region of England. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6, 547-557.

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