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Food poisoning outbreak in Kwai Chung Hospital confirmed
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (July 31) confirmed an outbreak of food poisoning in Kwai Chung Hospital related to Salmonella.

     Upon further investigations into the case reported on July 28, the CHP has reached the remaining staff members who earlier reported symptoms of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) after the same staff gathering. Nine additional affected persons were identified and they developed diarrhoea, abdominal pain and fever eight to 30 hours after their lunch in the staff canteen on July 26.

     This brings the cumulative total number of affected persons to 32, comprising 15 men and 17 women aged 23 to 59. Among them, 25 sought medical attention and five required hospitalisation, two of whom have been discharged after management. All affected persons identified have been in stable condition.

     The stool specimen of one admitted patient grew Salmonella upon laboratory testing.

     Apart from the above staff lunch, the CHP also identified another cluster affecting two women aged 42 and 50. They developed AGE symptoms 12 to 14 hours after having breakfast in the same canteen on July 26.

     The food concerned in the outbreak was suspected to be sandwiches containing eggs as consumed by all patients reported so far.

     "Enquiries so far have revealed that all patients reported had meals provided by the same canteen before investigations and control measures instituted by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. No additional cases were reported after the implementation of control measures. Medical surveillance and investigations are ongoing," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     "Our officers have conducted a site visit and again reminded the management to adopt appropriate infection control measures and observe personal, food and environmental hygiene to prevent food-borne diseases," the spokesman added.

     Salmonella may be found in inadequately cooked meat, meat products and poultry, and raw egg and egg products such as pudding and lead to food poisoning. Common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain, with or without fever.

     To prevent food-borne diseases, institutions are advised to:
  • Choose and monitor food suppliers carefully; and
  • Hot foods should be kept at above 60 degrees Celsius while cold foods should be kept at 4 degrees C or below.

     The CHP reminded members of the public to maintain personal, food and environmental hygiene at all times. When dining out:
  • Eat thoroughly cooked food;
  • All foodstuffs derived from animal sources, in particular meat, poultry, eggs and their products, should be properly handled and stored and thoroughly cooked;
  • Food handlers should immediately stop handling food if they develop gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea or vomiting;
  • Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than two hours;
  • Patronise only reliable and licensed restaurants;
  • Do not patronise illegal food hawkers;
  • Drink boiled water;
  • Always wash hands before eating and after going to the toilet;
  • Avoid eating raw seafood;
  • Be a discerning consumer in choosing cold dishes, including sashimi, sushi and raw oysters, at a buffet;
  • Use two sets of chopsticks and eating utensils to handle raw and cooked food; and
  • Do not try to use salt, vinegar, wine and wasabi to kill bacteria as they are not effective.
Ends/Monday, July 31, 2017
Issued at HKT 19:51
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