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Article Title

Bacterial foodborne outbreaks in central Taiwan, 1991-2000

Abstract

During 1991 to 2000, 274 outbreaks of foodborne illness including 12845 cases and 3 deaths were reported in central Taiwan. Of the 274 reported outbreaks 171 (62.4%) were caused by bacterial pathogens. Chemical and natural toxins appeared to be minor causes. Microorganisms, particularly Bacillus cereus (41.2%, 113 of 171 outbreaks), Staphylococcus aureus (17.9%, 49 of 171 outbreaks), Vibrio parahaemolyticus (15.7%, 43 of 171 outbreaks) were the main etiologic agents. These outbreaks were mainly caused by mishandling of food at home (41.2%) and in school (34.3%). The suspected foods involved in outbreaks were seafood (32.5%), meat & meat-products (23.5%), cereal products (15.6%). 44 enteropathogenic Escherichia coli isolates from 20 outbreaks were confirmed by their O serotype. Occurrence of O18 was the most frequently detected. Among the 106 V parahaemolyticus isolates, 55 K-serotype (51.9%) were found. 121 (78%) strains of S. aureus can produce enterotoxin. The data further revealed that enterotoxin A-producing strains of S. aureus accounted for 76% of all enterotoxigenic strains.

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