Epidemiology and Infection

Transmission of calicivirus by a foodhandler in the pre-symptomatic phase of illness

C. GAULIN a1c1, M. FRIGON a1, D. POIRIER a1 and C. FOURNIER a2
a1 Centre de santé publique de Québec 2400 rue d'Estimauville Beauport, Québec, Canada G1E 7G9
a2 Ville de Québec, 1595 Monseigneur Plessis, Québec, Canada G1M 1A2


After a Christmas party in a restaurant, 48 (68%) of the 82 guests contracted calicivirus gastroenteritis. The epidemiological investigation showed that salad was strongly associated with the disease episode (RR=2·43, P=0·0005). Similar symptoms occurred among other customers who had had a meal at the same restaurant on the same evening. A foodhandler who had only prepared salad and appetizers became sick about 30 min after the end of his shift. He had been free of symptoms while preparing food. Few outbreak investigations have shown calicivirus transmission by foodhandlers some hours before becoming symptomatic.

(Accepted July 12 1999)

c1 Author for correspondence.