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Foodborne Disease Outbreak In Taif, Saudi Arabia, June, 2012.


On Sunday 17 June 2012(27/7/1433 H), 31 cases were admitted to the emergency department of Alkhorma General Hospital (Taif Governorate) complaining of acute abdominal pain after eating a meal in previous day in AlQarif town (Taif Governorate). After suspecting that the source was contaminated food,the hospital informed the department of preventive medicine in Taif Directorate of health Affairs about a food borne outbreak inAlQarif town. The restaurant was visited by a team of food safety program in Taif Governorate, environmental investigation was done; samples from food items were taken and sent to public Health laboratory for investigation. Later on, a team from field epidemiology training program (FETP) visited the area and conducted an epidemiological investigation (case control study) to investigate this food borne outbreak and to put suitable recommendations to prevent same outbreaks in the future.


A case control study was conducted. A questionnaire was used to extract relevant information from cases and controls, a case was defined as Any person who ate from Dinner meal on Saturday 16 June2012- (26/7/1433 H) from the implicated restaurant and developed one or more of the following gastrointestinal symptoms: abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea,vomiting was considered as a case.A control was defined as any personwho ate from the same meal at the same time from same restaurant and had not developed any gastrointestinal symptom was considered.Environmental investigation was done and laboratory investigations were obtained.


A total of 62 persons (31 case and 31 controls) were interviewed. 31 cases 12 case(38.7% ) were males and 19 cases (61.3%) were females; 30 cases (96.8%) developed abdominal pain, 27 cases (87.1%) developed diarrhea, 24 cases (77.41%) developed vomiting and 23 cases(74.2%) developed fever. A strong association between consuming of Garlic Mayonnaise and the appearance of symptoms was revealed (odd ratio = 20.9, 95% confidence interval = 1.3-57.9). Nose swap taken from one of the food handler and the sample taken from garlic mayonnaise showed the presence of Staphylococcus auras.


Garlic mayonnaise was the most likely implicated food item behind occurrence of this food borne outbreak and staphylococcus auras was the most likely responsible microbial organism.