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Hot Pot with chicken causes campylobacter infections in Switzerland
Date:7/3/2014

On the one hand, the risk of infection increased by a factor of four when consuming Fondue chinoise. About half of the notified campylobacteriosis cases over the Christmas and New Year period can be attributed to this source of infection.

The study also shows that the risk of infection can be decreased by hygienic measures at the table. As soon as the meat fondue consumers used compartmented or separate plates for raw and cooked meat, the risk of an infection decreased by a factor of up to five. Likewise, the risk of an infection decreased when consuming meat that had been previously frozen. Campylobacter infections among consumers could be avoided to a large extent by employing the appropriate hygiene behaviour measures, Daniel Musezahl says.

Another risk factor for a campylobacter infection identified by the study was travelling abroad over the Christmas season. However, persons returning from a trip with diarrhoea are tested more frequently for infection which might also explain this increased finding.

No harmless illness

Campylobacter infections are experienced as a severe illness by affected persons. On a scale from 1 harmless to 10 very severe, half of the patients had rated the subjectively experienced symptoms with 8 or more points. Persons who have fallen ill primarily complained of diarrhoea (98%), abdominal pain (81%), fever (66%), nausea (44%) and vomiting (34%). The patients stated an average duration of illness of seven days; about 15% were hospitalised.

Worldwide problem

The contamination of chicken meat with campylobacter bacteria is a worldwide problem in the poultry industry with consequences for public health. In some European countries and in the USA, poultry meat from infected flocks is therefore only sold frozen or after being treated, e.g. with peroxyacetic acid. Microbiologists are also discussing the preventive use of bacterial viruses (so-called phages) as a poss
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Contact: Christian Heuss
christian.heuss@unibas.ch
41-612-848-683
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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