Food Safety Summit Delegates Hit by Illness

US - A contaminated chicken dish has been identified as the likely cause of illness among many of the delegates at the Food Safety Summit in Baltimore in April 2014.
calendar icon 26 September 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

The Food Safety Summit received a comprehensive and detailed investigation report from the Office of Infectious Disease and Outbreak Response at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) stating the case findings and exposure assessment from the illness outbreak at the 2014 Food Safety Summit which took place at the Baltimore Convention Center from 8 to 10 April 2014.

The DHMH conducted a retrospective cohort study of conference attendees to develop a hypothesis about what caused the outbreak. Their investigation methods included an epidemiological investigation, environmental investigation and laboratory analyses.

The findings, as generally stated in the report, indicated that through internet and phone interviews, 669 viable respondents were identified. Of the 669, 604 responses were used in the analysis and 65 responses were excluded from the analysis. Of the 604 confirmed responses that were used in the investigation analysis, 216 were confirmed afflicted cases 338 were well cases. The 216 afflicted cases reported diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea, headaches, chills, vomiting and fever during the period of 8 to 12 April 2014.

Through discussions and extensive interviews with those affected, the pan-seared breast of chicken marsala was the food item most commonly consumed by afflicted cases, with 146 of all 216 (67.6 per cent) cases consuming it and 146 of the 157 (93.0 per cent) cases who ate lunch on 9 April.

The Food Safety Summit says it has been an industry leading event for the past 16 years and has never had an incident like this happen before. It says it has cooperated fully with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and will work with other organisations to ensure that an outbreak of this nature does not happen again.

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