518 cases of food borne diseases recorded in Dubai

There was not a single death due to food-poisoning in 2013 although there were sporadic instances of outbreaks which totaled about five last year.

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Published: Fri 31 Jan 2014, 11:39 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 6:34 PM

Dubai recorded 518 confirmed cases of food-borne illnesses including food poisoning in 2013, a senior official has said.

A total of 1,123 suspected cases of food-borne illnesses were reported in Dubai in 2013. However, only 518 cases were confirmed, the Director of Food Control Department at the Municipality Khalid Mohammed Sharif Al Awadhi revealed at the Arab Health Congress 2014.

There was not a single death due to food-poisoning although there were sporadic instances of outbreaks which totaled about five last year.

In 2011, data from the first ever food-borne disease investigation and surveillance system in Dubai had revealed that there were 1,663 cases reported in the first nine months. However, officials had not announced the number of confirmed cases at that point of time.

According to Al Awadhi, data for the last year revealed that more than half of the suspected cases of food-borne illnesses were not confirmed.

He was presenting a paper on “Emerging food-borne diseases and approaches for intervention: Dubai Model”, at the Public Health Conference of Arab Health Congress 2014.

Al Awadhi said the figures were collated from the food-borne disease investigation and surveillance system in Dubai, a joint venture of the Municipality and the Dubai Health Authority established under the guidance of the World Health Organisation and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among the confirmed cases, amoebic dysentery and typhoid/paratyphoid topped the list with 214 and 137 cases respectively.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, the Municipality’s food safety expert Basher Hassan Yousif observed that these diseases were mainly “imported” by people with history of travel.

As many as 84 confirmed cases of Salmonellosis, caused mainly by spoilt egg and meat, were reported while the number of confirmed cases of viral Hepatitis A (HAV) stood at 43.

Giardiasis, a parasitic infection, and Shigella species were confirmed in 20 and 10 cases respectively. E.Coli and Campylobacter species were confirmed in one case each while there were three confirmed cases of Campylobacter Jejuni and five cases of Bacillary Dysentery.

Al Awadhi said the reasons for investigating food-borne disease outbreaks were mainly to identify the source of the outbreak to take interventions or corrective actions and to learn more about the public health implications of food-borne pathogens. It is also aimed at monitoring the epidemiology to develop better food control and other prevention strategies. -sajila@khaleejtimes.com


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