Epidemiology and Infection

A campylobacter outbreak associated with stir-fried food

M. R. EVANS a1c1, W. LANE a2, J. A. FROST a3 and G. NYLEN a4
a1 Public Health Directorate, Bro Taf Health Authority, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF1 3NW
a2 Cardiff Environmental Protection, Wood Street, Cardiff CF1 1NQ
a3 Laboratory of Enteric Pathogens, PHLS Central Public Health Laboratory, 61 Colindale Avenue, London NW9 5HT
a4 PHLS Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre (Welsh Unit) Abton House, Wedal Road, Cardiff CF4 3QX


An outbreak of gastrointestinal illness affecting 12 of 29 customers of a ‘Hawaiian’ theme restaurant specializing in stir-fried food occurred in Cardiff, Wales in February 1997. Campylobacter jejuni serotype HS50 phage type 49 (PT49) was isolated from 5 cases. A total of 47 isolates of C. jejuni HS50 PT49 were identified from Wales during 1997, of which 11 were isolated in late February or early March and from the Cardiff area. In the outbreak, illness was associated with eating stir-fried chicken pieces (relative risk 4·81, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·76–30·44, P=0·03) and a dose-response relationship between risk of illness and amount of chicken consumed was observed (χ2-test for linear trend 3·96, P=0·047). Undercooking of chicken was probably due to a combination of inadequate cooking time and use of large chicken pieces. This is the first time that stir-fried food has been associated with a campylobacter outbreak. The incident also illustrates the value of routine campylobacter subtyping in supporting outbreak investigation.

(Accepted May 5 1998)

c1 Author for correspondence.