Revista médica de Chile
versión impresa ISSN 0034-9887
PRADO J, Valeria et al. Survey of foodborne diseases in the Metropolitan Area of Chile. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2002, vol.130, n.5, pp. 495-501. ISSN 0034-9887. http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0034-98872002000500003.
Background: Foodborne diseases are becoming an important cause of morbidity in Chile. In the Metropolitan Region of Chile, the Environmental Health Service started a surveillance program for foodborne diseases in 1994. In 2000, this program was complemented with an etiologic study of individuals involved in outbreaks. Aim: To report the incidence of foodborne outbreaks in the Metropolitan Region of Chile and its causative agents. Results: One hundred ninety outbreaks of foodborne diseases were reported in 1999 and 260 in 2000. The Southern Metropolitan health service had the higher incidence rates (7.5 in 1999 and 8.2 in 2000). The mean attack rates were 25% in both periods, affecting 1248 individuals in 1999 and 1774 in 2000. In 18% of outbreaks, a pathogen was identified; the most frequent agents were Salmonella Spp, Staphylococcus aureus and Shigella. In 15% of subjects, the cause was histamine or chemical agents. In the rest of the cases, the cause was not identified. The foods with higher risk of causing foodborne diseases were hot prepared dishes, home made goat cheese and meats. Conclusions: The incidence rates of foodborne disease in Metropolitan Area of Chile are high and maybe underestimate, only in a low rate of outbreaks was possible to have samples for etiologic studies. For a better understanding of this problem, timely notification of foodborne diseases must be encouraged and educational campaigns about the proper manipulation of food items must be implemented (Rev Méd Chile 2002; 130: 495-501)
Palabras clave : Food contamination; Food handling; Salmonella spp; Shigella spp; Staphylococcus aureus.