EPI 5240: Introduction to Epidemiology Gastroenteritis in Texas: an outbreak case-study October 26, 2009. Dr. N. Birkett, Department of Epidemiology & Community Medicine, University of Ottawa. Part 1.
Dr. N. Birkett,
Department of Epidemiology & Community Medicine,
University of Ottawa
On the morning of March 11, the Texas Department of Health (TDH) got a phone call from a university student. He reported that he and his roommate (who lived in a frat house) were suffering from nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Both became ill during the night. Neither had seen an MD.
They believed they were ill due to food eaten at a local pizzeria the previous night. They wanted advice about whether to take a biology mid-term that afternoon.
Staff were skeptical, thinking students wanted an excuse to miss the exam but decided to make a few calls.
Is this an outbreak at the university?
TDH visit hospital A that afternoon to review medical records. Symptoms:
Abdo cramps: 68%
Muscle aches: 49%
Bloody diarrhea: 5%
Temperature: 98.8 to 102.4 (median 100)
CBC: elevated white cell count
Stool specimens: pending
Broad categories of diseases to consider?
Pizza as source toxin.
What do the negative stool culture results mean?
Within 24 hrs, 75 persons with vomiting or diarrhea had been reported to the TDH. All were students from the university campus. There were no cases among faculty, staff or the local community. Median age was 19, 69% were freshmen and 62% were female.