An Epidemiological Investigation of a Food Poisoning Outbreak at an Elementary School in Penghu County
2000 Vol.16 NO.2
The purpose of this epidemiological investigation was to identify the causes of the food poisoning outbreak, the likely responsible food items and the pathogenic agents. A semi-structured questionnaire with the case-control method was used to interview 176 students of an elementary school in Huhsi Township of Penghu County. Among them, 171 (97.2%) students ate the boxed lunch ordered for the school’s track and field sports. Of the 171 students, 109 (48 males and 61 females) met the case definition of food poisoning and showed an attack rate of 63.7%. Their symptoms included abdominal pain (79.8%), vomiting (78.0%), dizziness (71.6%), diarrhea (46.8%), headache (45.0%), weakness (32.1%), nausea (25.7%), fever (23.9%), and chills (8.3%). The median incubation period was 33 hours and the range was from 6 to 54 hours.