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Histamine food poisoning: a sudden, large outbreak linked to fresh yellowfin tuna from Reunion Island, France, April 2017

Abstract : On 20 April 2017, an outbreak of histamine food poisoning occurred in a French military unit located near Paris. A total of 40 cases were identified (attack rate: 16.6%). We conducted a case–control study on 31 cases and 63 controls. Multivariate analysis pointed to cooked yellowfin tuna fillet as the very likely source of food poisoning (odds ratio = 156.8; 95% confidence interval: 18.4–1,338.4). The fresh yellowfin tuna was from Reunion Island and was supplied vacuum-sealed and packed with ice at the principal food market of Paris. No cold chain issues could be established in the upstream and downstream supply chains. Histamine concentration was found to be 1,720 mg/kg in leftover raw tuna, and 3,720 mg/kg in control cooked tuna, well above the threshold limit values defined by European regulations (200 mg/kg). The presence of Klebsiella variicola and Pantoea agglomerans, microorganisms of the Enterobacterales order that have been reported to produce histamine, was confirmed in the leftover raw tuna. This type of food poisoning is rarely recognised and confirmed. We describe the outbreak to highlight the specific key points of this type of investigation.
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Guillaume Velut, François Delon, Jean Paul Mérigaud, Christelle Tong, Guillaume Duflos, et al.. Histamine food poisoning: a sudden, large outbreak linked to fresh yellowfin tuna from Reunion Island, France, April 2017. Eurosurveillance, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 2019, 24 (22), ⟨10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2019.24.22.1800405⟩. ⟨hal-02263766⟩

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