In 1981, a total of 647 incidents, comprising 505 outbreaks and 142 single cases, caused illnesses in 4,804 persons. There were 14.8% fewer incidents and 32.5% fewer cases than recorded for 1980. Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens and Bacillus cereus were the main bacteriological agents to cause illness, but there were far fewer incidents of salmonellosis in 1981 (36) compared with 1980 (64). Etiologic agents Coxiella burnetii, Listeria monocytogenes and Taenia saginata were reported for the first time in these summaries. Animal agents: paralytic shellfish poison, scombroid poison and insects had also been documented in 1980 and previous years, but the plant agents were new - taro leaves and tablets made from Spirulina alga. The number of incidents caused by chemical agents (51), mainly extraneous matter, rancid compounds, metals and monosodium glutamate, were the same as for 1980. Some of the more unusual chemical poisonings were lead in herbal capsules, mercury in yogurt, ammonia in frog legs and laxative in a cake. Ten foodborne disease related deaths occurred mainly in infants infected by Listeria and in elderly patients with salmonellosis in a home for the aged. About 33% of incidents and 41% of cases were associated with meat and poultry. Mishandling of food took place mainly in foodservice establishments (33.1% of incidents, 62.4% of cases), homes (13.4% of incidents and 9.5% of cases) and food processing establishments (13.1% of incidents and 2.9% of cases). Food processing problems resulted mainly from chemical contamination, particularly extraneous matter. Most incidents occurred in Ontario (41.3%), British Columbia (19.6%) and Alberta (11.6%), but on a 100,000 population basis incidents were highest in British Columbia (4.6), Nova Scotia (4.4), Alberta (3.4) and Ontario (3.1). Narrative reports of seven previously unpublished foodborne disease problems are presented. Eight incidents of waterborne disease, caused by Giardia lamblia, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and an undetermined agent, are double the number recorded for both 1980 and 1979. However, the number of cases was far fewer in 1981 (178) compared with those for the previous year (1,124). The largest outbreak (46 cases) was caused by Pseudomonas infecting the skin and ears of whirlpool bathers in a motel. All the other incidents were from contaminated water obtained on camping trips (3), from Giardia-in-fected municipal water supplies, two from abroad (3) and from non-chlorinated wells contaminated with Salmonella (1).

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