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Crunching the numbers of food poisoning in Qatar _ QScience Highlights.pdf (110.14 kB)

Crunching the numbers of food poisoning in Qatar

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submitted on 2023-08-16, 05:30 and posted on 2023-08-28, 12:00 authored by Nature Research

Salmonellosis is a common type of food poisoning caused by Salmonella bacteria. It affects tens of millions and kills more than 100,000 people every year worldwide. It occurs by eating contaminated food and results in diarrhoea, fever and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The condition is usually self-limiting, requiring only adequate rehydration without the need for antibiotic treatment. However, in some cases the diarrhoea and consequent dehydration can be so severe that hospitalization becomes necessary.

Researchers in Qatar reviewed physician and laboratory reports of salmonella cases in the country between 2004 and 2012 and found a high incidence of salmonellosis in the country. The trend was generally decreasing during the investigated time period, which can be attributed to improvements in the food chain and sanitation in the country, they say.

The incidence rate of salmonellosis in Qatar in 2012 was 18.1 per 100,000. This rate is comparable to others in countries such as Canada (19.4/100,000), Poland (22.9/100,000) and the US (16.4/100,000).

In 2012, half the cases in Qatar were girls below the age of two and boys below the age of three. Three-fourths of the cases in that same year were non-Qataris, with Indians, Egyptians and Pakistanis forming a large bulk of those affected. The highest incidence of cases was between May and September, which can be attributed to a known increased risk of gastrointestinal diseases when temperatures rise.

Interestingly, the team found more than 40% of the Salmonella strains tested in 2012 to be resistant to five different antibiotics. Resistance in Salmonella strains often occurs due to the use of antimicrobial drugs in animal feed. Animals are the main reservoir of this bacterium. But a low-resistance pattern was found for two other commonly used antibiotics (cephalosporin and ciprofloxacin).

“Special intervention and health awareness programs are required for early screening, detection and treatment as well as the need for strengthening the surveillance system of salmonellosis, with special emphasis on the laboratory study of cases,” conclude the researchers in their article published in the Qatar Medical Journal.

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Published in: Highlights, Published by Nature Research for Hamad bin Khalifa University Press (HBKU Press)



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Nature Research

Publication Year

  • 2016

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This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University

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