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Salud Pública de México

Print version ISSN 0036-3634


CHAVEZ-DE LA PENA, Ma. Eugenia et al. An outbreak of Salmonella gastroenteritis among hospital workers. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2001, vol.43, n.3, pp.211-216. ISSN 0036-3634.

Objective. To describe and identify the causes of an outbreak of Salmonella enteritidis gastroenteritis that took place in June 1998, among tertiary care hospital workers, in Mexico City. Material and methods. Cases were hospital workers who developed diarrhea or fever associated with gastrointestinal symptoms, after a meal at the hospital's dining room on June eight; controls were asymptomatic employees who also ate at the hospital's dining room on the same day. A food questionnaire was applied, and stool samples were obtained from all study subjects, including kitchen personnel. Blood cultures were practiced for febrile patients. Odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) and the chi-squared were used for statistical analysis. Statistical significance was set at p< 0.05. Results. One-hundred-fifty-five workers developed symptoms, but only 129 (83.2%) answered the questionnaire; 150 controls were also studied. The most common symptoms were diarrhea (85%), abdominal pain (84%), cephalea (81.4%), nausea (78.3%), and chills (74.4%). Eight blood cultures were negative; 59 stool cultures (46%) from cases and six (4%) from controls, were positive for Salmonella enteritidis. Egg-covered meat was the suspected source of infection (OR 19.39, 95% CI 9.09-41.4); some other foodstuffs like fruit dessert and yogurt, were significantly more frequent in cases than in controls. Food cultures were all negative. Conclusion. This outbreak was probably caused by Salmonella-contaminated foodstuffs (egg-covered meat with potatoes) due to deficient cooking. This report shows the importance of food-quality programs for hospital meals. The English version of this paper is available at:

Keywords : Salmonella food poisoning; health personnel; Mexico.

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