Over 400 office workers from the same unit of a manufacturing company in Stockholm County, Sweden, fell ill with gastroenteritis. A retrospective cohort study of office workers in the affected unit demonstrated that canteen visitors on one day had an increased risk of illness [risk ratio (RR) 27·1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 15·7–46·8] compared to non-visitors. A second study, investigating canteen visitors' consumption of particular food items, showed that both tomatoes from the salad buffet (RR 5·6, 95% CI 3·2–9·6) and hamburgers (RR 4·9, 95% CI 2·4–9·8) were the most likely vehicles of infection. Norovirus GI.3 (Desert Shield) was identified in stool samples from three office workers and from a food handler who prepared the tomatoes for the salad buffet and hamburger ingredients before vomiting at the workplace on 12 November. The outbreak could have been prevented if the food items prepared by the food handler some hours before vomiting had not been served.
(Accepted August 11 2009)
(Online publication September 21 2009)
c1 Author for correspondence: T. P. Zomer, Department of Epidemiology, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Tomtebodavägen 12B, 171 82 Solna. (Email: Tizza.Zomer@smi.se or Tizza.Zomer@gmail.com)