Journal of Hygiene

Research Article

An outbreak of infection with Salmonella typhimurium in a general hospital

Naomi Dattaa1, R. B. Pridiea2 and E. S. Andersona3

a1 Department of Bacteriology

a2 Department of Medicine, Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, London, W. 12

a3 Director of the Central Enteric Reference Laboratory and Bureau, Colindale, London, N.W. 9

An outbreak of Salmonella typhimurium infection in a large general hospital is described. The outbreak was spread over some 20 weeks and gave rise to 102 cases of enteritis and there were at least 150 symptomless excreters of the organism.

Evidence is presented to support the view that the method of spread was by cross-infection, not by contamination of food in bulk. Control measures, which ultimately brought the outbreak to an end, were instituted on this basis.

We wish to thank Dr A. J. H. Tomlinson and his staff at the Public Health Laboratory, County HallS.E. 1 for the generous assistance they gave us in examining all the specimens from the hospital staff during the outbreak. The resources of the Department of Bacteriology of the Postgraduate Medical School were at that time largely devoted to teaching and adequate investigations could not have been made without this help. Dr Tomlinson also gave us much advice both during and after the outbreak for which we are most grateful.

Dr E. S. Anderson, Director of the Central Enteric Reference Laboratory and Bureau, Colindale, London, N.W. 9, very kindly undertook the phage-typing of many of the strains of Salmonella typhimurium isolated and we wish to express our thanks to him for this and other help he gave us in the investigation of the outbreak.

Our thanks are also due to Dr Joan Taylor, Director of the Salmonella Reference Laboratory, Colindale, for her help and interest.

Discussions with Dr R. M. Fry and Dr Joan Boissard in Cambridge in connexion with their investigations of a similar outbreak were most interesting and valuable and it gives us pleasure to thank them.

We also acknowledge gratefully the help and co-operation of our colleagues at Hammersmith Hospital, especially Dr C. E. Roberts, the Medical Superintendent, and of those at the Postgraduate Medical School.

(Received February 25 1960)