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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 65  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 55-58

Outbreak investigation of foodborne illness among political rally attendees, Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, India

1 India Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi, India
2 State Epidemiologist, Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Government of Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Joint Director, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, National Centre for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Government of India, New Delhi, India
4 Resident Advisor, Epidemic Intelligence Service Programme, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, India

Correspondence Address:
Amol Annasaheb Patil
213, Kadambari Apartment, Rohini Sector 09, Delhi - 110 085
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijph.IJPH_1069_20

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In July 2015, we investigated a foodborne illness outbreak in Sithalikuppam and Verupachi villages, Cuddalore district, Tamil Nadu, among the political rally attendees to determine the risk factors for illness. We conducted a retrospective cohort study, calculated risk ratio for the food exposures, and cultured stool specimens. Of 55 rally attendees, we identified 36 (65%) case patients; 32 (89%) had diarrhea and 20 (56%) had vomiting. Median incubation period was 14 h. Eighty-nine percent (32/36) of those who ate lemon rice at dinner had illness compared to 21% (4/19) of those who did not (RR 4.2). Of the six nonattendees who ate leftovers on July 25, all ate only lemon rice and became ill. Stool cultures were negative for Salmonella, Shigella, and Vibrio species. Lemon rice was probably contaminated with enterotoxins such as from Bacillus cereus. Our findings highlighted need for community food safety education and importance of thorough outbreak investigations.

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