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Foodborne Disease Outbreak In Al-Hada, Taif, Saudi Arabia, June, 2012.


On Friday of September 28th 2012, the department of preventive medicine in Taif Directorate of Health Affairs was informed about a food borne outbreak in Taif region after reporting about 76 cases complaining of gastrointestinal symptoms. Those cases were complaining of diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea and / or fever, it was found out that they belong to one big family, eating a dinner meal for wedding celebration of one of their relative on the evening of Thursday of September 27th 2012 at 10 p.m. in hangout place (Estraha). After suspecting that the source was a contaminated food prepared in hangout place (Estraha), Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) team investigates this outbreak, place was visited, environmental investigation was done, the remnant of food particles were thrown and no food samples were taken, the food handlers were some members from same family and they refused to be met or underwent for any lab investigation.


A retrospective cohort study was conducted. A questionnaire was used to extract relevant information from cases. Any individual from the party participants who ate the dinner meal at celebration and developed any of the following symptoms: diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting and /or fever within 3 days from September 27th 2012. Any person who ate from the same meal at the same time and had not developed any gastrointestinal symptom was also included in the study.


A total of 62 patients were interviewed. 62 (100%) developed diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting, 61 (98.4%) developed fever, while only 15 (24.4%) developed nausea. A strong association between eating green salad and the appearance of symptoms was revealed (RR= 12.51, 95% CI= 4.8129 - 32.5361); Laboratory investigations (blood and stool) for the patients were done, rectal swabs for 6 patients were positive for salmonella.


The green salad was the most likely implicated food item behind occurrence of this food borne outbreak, and most likely salmonella was the responsible microbial organism.