A Food-Poisoning Outbreak of Multiple Pathogenic Factors
1993 Vol.9 NO.10
A food-poisoning outbreak affecting many teachers and school children occurred on 12 March 1993 in the Yenpu Primary School of Pingtung County, southern Taiwan. The investigation included: questionnaire survey, assessment of the kitchen and the food processing, and testings of specimens of foods and from humans. Of the 699 valid questionnaires, 160 (23%) showed symptoms of abdominal pain, dizziness, flushing, and diarrhea. Incubation periods ranged from 10 minutes to more than 10 hours. Both Bacillus cereus and histamine were isolated from food specimens. Soybean milk, sweet and sour fish and fried vegetables were considered risk factors of the outbreak. The outbreak reminds us that: 1) a food-poisoning outbreak could be induced by many pathogenic factors at the same time; and 2) the incubation period and symptoms of Bacillus cereus poisoning could vary greatly.