Foodborne disease outbreak in a resource-limited setting: a tale of missed opportunities and implications for response

  • Donne Kofi Ameme
  • Marijanatu Abdulai
  • Eric Yirenkyi Adjei
  • Edwin Andrews Afari
  • Kofi Mensah Nyarko
  • Dwamena Asante
  • Gideon Kye-Duodu
  • Mona Abbas
  • Samuel Sackey
  • Fred Wurapa

Abstract

Introduction: Foodborne diseases (FBD) have emerged as a major public health problem worldwide. Though the global burden of FBD is currently unknown, foodborne diarrhoeal diseases kill 1.9 million children globally every year. On 25th September 2014, health authorities in Eastern Region of Ghana were alerted of a suspected FBD outbreak involving patrons of a community food joint. We investigated to determine the magnitude, source and implement control and preventive measures. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted. We reviewed medical records for data on demographics and clinical features. A suspected foodborne disease was any person in the affected community with abdominal pain, vomiting and or diarrhea between 25th and 30th September 2014 and had eaten from the food joint. We conducted active case search, descriptive data analysis and calculated food specific attack rate ratios (ARR) and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals. Results: Of 43 case-patients, 44.2% (19/43) were males; median age was 19 years (interquartile range: 17-24 years). Overall attack rate was 43.4% (43/99) with no fatality. Case counts rose sharply for four hours to a peak and fell to baseline levels after 12 hours .Compared to those who ate other food items, patrons who ate “waakye” and “shitor” were more likely to develop foodborne disease [ARR=4.1 (95% CI=1.09-15.63)]. Food samples and specimens from case-patients were unavailable for testing. Laboratory diagnostic capacity was also weak. Conclusion: A point source FBD outbreak linked to probable contaminated “waakye” and or “shitor” occurred. Missed opportunities for definitive diagnosis highlighted the need for strengthening local response capacity.

Pan African Medical Journal 2016; 23

Author Biographies

Donne Kofi Ameme
Ghana Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (GFELTP), School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
Eric Yirenkyi Adjei
Ghana Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (GFELTP), School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
Edwin Andrews Afari
Ghana Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (GFELTP), School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
Kofi Mensah Nyarko
Ghana Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (GFELTP), School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
Dwamena Asante
Upper West Akim District Health Directorate, Adeiso, Ghana
Gideon Kye-Duodu
School of Public Health, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Hohoe, Ghana
Mona Abbas
Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Legon, Accra, Ghana
Samuel Sackey
Ghana Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (GFELTP), School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
Fred Wurapa
Ghana Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (GFELTP), School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
Published
2016-07-01
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1937-8688