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Revista Costarricense de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1409-1429


ESPINOZA AGUIRRE, Azálea; RAMIREZ FERNANDEZ, Hilda  and  WASSERMAN TEITELBAUM, Henry. Brote de diarrea debido a intoxicación por alimentos en una empresa X. San José, Costa Rica, del 8 al 9 de julio  2003. Rev. costarric. salud pública [online]. 2007, vol.16, n.30, pp.32-38. ISSN 1409-1429.

On July the 9th., 2003, an outbreak in company X was notified to the Ministry of Public Health in San José. This outbreak was investigated with the purposes of verifying its magnitude, determining risk factors, and mechanisms of transmission as well as recommending prevention and control measures to the Local Health authorities. Forty clinical charts belonging to diarrhea patients seen at the company´s infirmary, were reviewed. The case definition was any worker with more than 2 semi-liquid bowel movements and who ate in the worker´s dining room on the 8th. of July, 2003. Stool and food cultures were taken and sent for analysis to a private lab. A retrospective cohort study was carried out and a questionnaire was administered to the employees. Relative Risks (with 95% confidence intervals) as well as attack rates and percentages were calculated for the foodstuffs served. All cases showed diarrhea but without fever. Clostridium perfringens was not searched in either the stool or the food cultures. Water samples didn´t report fecal contamination. The likely source of contamination, namely pineapple pork, showed a relative risk of 1.94 with a confidence interval between 1.26 and 2.96. The incubation period as well as the clinical characteristics of the illness were consistent with an intoxication due to Clostridium perfringens. Since the employees were unaware of the procedures to be followed during a foodborne outbreak, training was offered to the Local Health Area which in turn, educated the companies under its supervision regarding protocols to be followed during any future similar problems.

Keywords : Costa Rica; foodborne illness; diarrhea outbreak; Clostridium perfringens; Costa Rica.

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