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Objectives: To determine the occurrence of foodborne disease outbreaks in Kenya and the
efforts employed to combat them.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Setting: Forty two districts in Kenya between 1970 and 1993.
Study subjects: Foodborne disease outbreak episodes due to Stuphylococcus aureus, Clostridium
perfringens, Clostridium botulinum, Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli, Campylobacter jejuni,
Yersinia enterocolitica, Lbtera monocytogenes, chemicals, atlatoxin, plant and animal poisons.
Outcome measures: Number and aetiological causes of foodborne disease outbreaks reported
in the study period.
Results: Thirty seven food poisoning outbreaks were reported to the Ministry of Health from
various parts of the country in the study period 1970 to 1993, and only 13 of these involving
a total of 926 people were confirmed to be due to particular aetiological agents. Foods that
were involved included milk and milk products, meat and meat products, maize flour, bread,
scones and other wheat products, vegetables and lemon pie pudding. A high number of food
poisoning cases were treated as outpatients in various health facilities.
Conclusion: Under-reporting, inadequate investigation of outbreaks and inadequate
diagnostic facilities suggest that foodborne disease outbreaks are more than is recorded by
the Ministry of Health.

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