Article Title

Vibrio cholerae O1 El Tor cluster in Sydney linked to imported whitebait


■ Three cases of cholera in women aged 71, 72 and 84 years were notified in November 2006 in Sydney, New South Wales.

■ This is the first reported cluster of cholera in Australia for over 30 years, and was an unusual outbreak in patients with no history of recent travel to cholera-endemic areas.

■ A food trace-back investigation found that the only exposure common to all cases was consumption of raw whitebait imported from Indonesia.

■ This outbreak demonstrates that the practice of eating raw whitebait does occur in Australia, albeit in the process of taste-testing uncooked fritter batter.

■ All three patients were undergoing long-term therapy with proton-pump inhibitors, which may have contributed to their susceptibility to the disease.

■ A review of importation practices of food from cholera-endemic regions may be required to prevent future transmission.



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