Epidemiology and Infection

Foodborne general outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis phage type 4 infection, England and Wales, 1992–2002: where are the risks?

I. A. GILLESPIE a1c1, S. J. O'BRIEN a1, G. K. ADAK a1, L. R. WARD a2 and H. R. SMITH a2
a1 Gastrointestinal Diseases Department, Health Protection Agency Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, London, UK
a2 Laboratory of Enteric Pathogens, Health Protection Agency Specialist and Reference Microbiology Division, London, UK

Article author query
gillespie ia   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
o'brien sj   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
adak gk   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
ward lr   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
smith hr   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Foodborne outbreaks of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis phage type 4 (PT4) infection (n=497), reported to the Health Protection Agency Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre between 1992 and 2002, were compared with other pathogens (n=1148) to determine factors (season, setting, food vehicles, food safety faults) associated with this pathogen. Logistic regression was applied to control for potential confounding. Foodborne general outbreaks of S. Enteritidis PT4 infection were more likely to occur in the spring and summer, and were more often linked to schools, private residences and residential institutions. Eggs, egg products and the use of raw shell egg were strongly associated with this pathogen. Most outbreaks were linked to cross-contamination and inadequate heat treatment. This paper describes the decline in the S. Enteritidis PT4 epidemic, providing evidence that control measures introduced, e.g. improved biosecurity and vaccination, have worked. Continued surveillance of human and veterinary salmonellosis is essential to detect future problems.

(Published Online May 12 2005)
(Accepted March 11 2005)

c1 Gastrointestinal Diseases Department, HPA Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, 61 Colindale Avenue, London NW9 5EQ, UK. (Email: Iain.Gillespie@hpa.org.uk)