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International foodborne outbreak of Shigella sonnei infection in airline passengers

  • K. GAYNOR (a1) (a2), S. Y. PARK (a2), R. KANENAKA (a2), R. COLINDRES (a1), E. MINTZ (a1), P. K. RAM (a1) (a3), P. KITSUTANI (a4), M. NAKATA (a2), S. WEDEL (a5), D. BOXRUD (a5), D. JENNINGS (a1), H. YOSHIDA (a6), N. TOSAKA (a4), H. HE (a2), M. CHING-LEE (a2) and P. V. EFFLER (a2)...

Summary

During 22–24 August 2004, an outbreak of Shigella sonnei infection affected air travellers who departed from Hawaii. Forty-seven passengers with culture-confirmed shigellosis and 116 probable cases who travelled on 12 flights dispersed to Japan, Australia, 22 US states, and American Samoa. All flights were served by one caterer. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of all 29 S. sonnei isolates yielded patterns that matched within one band. Food histories and menu reviews identified raw carrot served onboard as the likely vehicle of infection. Attack rates for diarrhoea on three surveyed flights with confirmed cases were 54% (110/204), 32% (20/63), and 12% (8/67). A total of 2700 meals were served on flights with confirmed cases; using attack rates observed on surveyed flights, we estimated that 300–1500 passengers were infected. This outbreak illustrates the risk of rapid, global spread of illness from a point-source at a major airline hub.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Dr K. Gaynor, Hawaii Department of Health, 1132 Bishop Street, #1900, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA. (Email: kate.gaynor@doh.hawaii.gov)

References

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