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Food poisoning outbreak investigation, Alhawiyah, Taif, Saudi Arabia, 2020.


On Sunday 15 February 2020, King Abdulaziz Specialist Hospital in Taif reported an unexpected number of patients had presented with gastrointestinal symptoms After having dinner at an engagement party on the previous night in Alhawiyah. Objectives: The objectives of this outbreak investigation were to determine the source of infection and Identify the causative agent.


Suspected cases were defined as persons who ate from the dinner served in the engagement party on Saturday 14 February 2020 in Alhawiyah and developed diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, nausea, or vomiting. Confirmed cases were defined as persons who fulfilled the suspected case definition and had a positive laboratory result.Data was collected by phone calls and direct interview using a standard fully structured ministry of health (MOH) food poisoning questionnaire.


19 persons were involved in this outbreak. 84% required hospital admission and eventually all of them discharged without complications. All the cases were females. The mean age was 30 years. All the cases reported having diarrhea, (95%) abdominal pain, (84%) fever, (74%) vomiting, and (11%) said they had headache. 78.5% of the cases rectal swabs were salmonella positive. Food handlers and food samples laboratory results were negative.


This outbreak was attributed to the food which was served in a dinner during an engagement party in Alhawiyah due to contamination with salmonella. We detected bad hygienic measures during cooking, transportation and storage of food at the gathering site. that are possible causes. More attention is needed to educate public on food safety during such gatherings.