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Update on Salmonella outbreak

10 December 2008

Update on Salmonella outbreak

The Ministry of Health, Institute of Environmental and Scientific Research (ESR) and public health services have commenced a case-control investigation to try to identify the source of a nation-wide outbreak of Salmonella gastroenteritis.

Tests are being carried out on multiple samples related to cases in order to identify the source of infection.

Dr Greg Simmons, the Ministry's Chief Advisor Population Health is pleased with the progress so far. "The investigation of Salmonellaoutbreaks where cases are dispersed across the country is both labour-intensive and challenging. We are actively following up leads as to the source of infection."

Since October 13, a total of 40 cases of Salmonellagastroenteritis due to infection with a particular strain (Salmonella Typhimurium phage type 42) have been reported from around the country. Those infected have suffered from fever, headaches, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.

Cases have been notified from the following health districts: Auckland (1), Waikato (1), Lakes (1), Bay of Plenty (2), Taranaki (1), Nelson Marlborough (6), West Coast (1), Canterbury (16), Otago (9), and Southland (2).

Preventing Salmonella transmission and infection

Food handlers with Salmonella infection and diarrhoea and/or vomiting should be excluded from commercial kitchens until the infection has cleared.

Consumers with gastroenteritis should avoid preparing meals for others. If you must do so, care should be taken to ensure proper handwashing and to follow the four Cs - clean, cook, cover, chill.

Wash hands after using the toilet (remember the 20+20 rule: 20 seconds to wash, plus 20 to dry on a clean towel or paper towels). Salmonella can be easily passed from person to person and particular care with personal hygiene needs to be taken around infants with diarrhoea.

Thoroughly cook food – cooking will kill any Salmonella that might have survived hand washing.

Cover foods to help prevent them from becoming contaminated with Salmonella.

Salmonella thrive at room temperature - keep food either very cold or very hot.


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