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Researchers use open interviews to identify the Salmonella outbreak



Researchers use open interviews to identify the Salmonella outbreak

Public health officials could detect a Salmonella outbreak traced back to an outbreak in Utah using open-ended interviews, according to a new report.

The outbreak patients who became ill between Oct. 1, 2023, and Jan. 9, 2024, all ate at the restaurant, which is not explicitly mentioned in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

The restaurant was not immediately identified as the source of the outbreak. The first study, which used routine interviews, asked patients about potential exposures, including restaurants, but did not report standard exposures.

Public health investigators found five patients with the outbreak strain but were unable to link them based on the first round of interviews. In a second round of interviews, the researchers used open-ended questions to identify eleven patients who had all eaten at the same restaurant.

Testing found the Salmonella Livingstone outbreak at multiple locations and in the restaurant’s food. The restaurant was closed and cleaned before reopening.

Six of the outbreak patients sought treatment in an emergency department, two of whom were hospitalized; no deaths were reported. Seven of the eleven patients received antibiotic therapy. One of the patients developed a blood infection. One restaurant worker tested positive for the outbreak strain.

The CDC reports that the use of open interviews was critical in identifying the outbreak.

“Including open-ended interviews and purchasing histories in investigations of foodborne illness outbreaks can speed source identification and response,” the CDC report said.

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