Epidemiology and Infection

Original Papers

A continuous common-source outbreak of campylobacteriosis associated with changes to the preparation of chicken liver pâté

M. C. O'LEARYa1a2 c1, O. HARDINGa3, L. FISHERa4 and J. COWDENa2

a1 European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training (EPIET), Stockholm, Sweden

a2 Health Protection Scotland, Clifton House, Clifton Place, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

a3 NHS Forth Valley, Stirling, Scotland, UK

a4 Stirling Council, Environmental Health Department, Stirling, Scotland, UK


In December 2006 an outbreak of Campylobacter infection occurred in Forth Valley, Scotland, affecting 48 people over a 3-week period. All cases dined at restaurant A. We conducted a cohort study in a party of 30 who ate lunch at restaurant A on 21 December to identify the vehicle of infection. Of 29 respondents, the attack rate in those who ate chicken liver pâté was 86% (6/7) compared to 0% (0/22) for those who did not. Between 1 December and 1.30 p.m. on 21 December the restaurant had used a different method of cooking the pâté. No cases reported dining at the restaurant after this time. The outbreak's duration suggested a continuous source. This is the first continuous source outbreak of Campylobacter documented in Scotland. Chicken liver pâté was the most likely vehicle of infection. This outbreak illustrates the hazards associated with undercooking Campylobacter-contaminated food.

(Accepted June 10 2008)

(Online publication July 23 2008)


c1 Author for correspondence: M. C. O'Leary, Health Protection Scotland, Clifton House, Clifton Place, Glasgow G3 7LN, Scotland, UK. (Email: maureen.oleary@hps.scot.nhs.uk)