Outbreak report Open Access
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In early September 2006, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health was alerted to an outbreak of Shigella sonnei infections (shigellosis) among 23 Norwegian passengers who had taken a bus tour from Kirkenes, Norway to Murmansk, Russia. The trip lasted from 27 to 31 August, and the group stayed in various hotels and visited several restaurants in both Kirkenes and Murmansk during this period. Stool samples from three ill passengers yielded S. sonnei; an additional 10 passengers had gastrointestinal symptoms with diarrhoea or loose stools with abdominal pain. An investigation was initiated in collaboration with the department of epidemiological surveillance in Murmansk. We sent a questionnaire to the work e-mail addresses of all passengers asking about symptoms and exposures. Two restaurants and a hotel visited by the Norwegian tourists in Murmansk were inspected and sampled. Of all the food and beverage items mentioned in the questionnaire, only cured meat consumed in restaurant A in Murmansk on 28 August was associated with the risk of developing illness. Inspections of the restaurants in Murmansk identified some hygienic shortcomings and inadequate routines. However, S. sonnei could not be isolated from food samples or the personnel. Improved routines were implemented.


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