This article presents a retrospective analysis of enteric disease outbreak investigations led by or conducted in collaboration with provincial health authorities in the Province of Quebec from 2002 through 2012. Objectives were to characterize enteric disease outbreaks, quantify and describe those for which a source was identified (including the control measures implemented), identify factors that contributed to or impeded identification of the source, and recommend areas for improvement in outbreak investigations (including establishment of criteria to initiate investigations). A descriptive analysis of enteric disease outbreak summaries recorded in a provincial database since 2002 was conducted, and corresponding outbreak reports were reviewed. Among 61 enteric disease outbreaks investigated, primary pathogens involved were Salmonella (46%), Escherichia coli O157:H7 (25%), and Listeria monocytogenes (13%). Sources were identified for 37 (61%) of 61 of the outbreaks, and descriptive studies were sufficient to identify the source for 26 (70%) of these. During the descriptive phase of the investigation, the causes of 21 (81%) of 26 outbreaks were identified by promptly collecting samples of suspected foods based on case interviews. Causes of outbreaks were more likely to be detected by weekly surveillance or alert systems (odds ratio = 6.0, P = 0.04) than by serotyping or molecular typing surveillance and were more likely to be associated with a common event or location (odds ratio = 11.0, P = 0.023). Among the 37 outbreaks for which causes were identified, 24 (65%) were associated with contaminated food, and recalls were the primary control measure implemented (54%). Review of enteric outbreaks investigated at the provincial level in Québec has increased the province's ability to quantify success and identify factors that can promote success. Multiple criteria should be taken into account to identify case clusters that are more likely to be resolved.
Summary of 11 Years of Enteric Outbreak Investigations and Criteria To Initiate an Investigation, Province of Quebec, 2002 through 2012
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COLETTE GAULIN, ANDREA CURRIE, GENEVIÈVE GRAVEL, MEGHAN HAMEL, MARIE-ANDREE LEBLANC, DANIELLE RAMSAY, SADJIA BEKAL; Summary of 11 Years of Enteric Outbreak Investigations and Criteria To Initiate an Investigation, Province of Quebec, 2002 through 2012. J Food Prot 1 September 2014; 77 (9): 1563–1570. doi: https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-13-530
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