Research Article

Outbreaks of salmonella infection in hospitals in England and Wales 1978-87.

BMJ 1989; 298 doi: (Published 29 April 1989) Cite this as: BMJ 1989;298:1161
  1. C. A. Joseph,
  2. S. R. Palmer
  1. PHLS Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, London.


    A total of 248 outbreaks of salmonella infection in hospital affecting over 3000 patients and 110 associated deaths were ascertained in England and Wales in 1978-87, compared with 522 outbreaks of salmonella in 1968-77. The largest reduction was found in outbreaks from children's units and maternity units. Fifty seven (24%) outbreaks were considered to be due to foodborne salmonellosis, and 70 (30%) were reported as person to person spread of the infection. The psychiatric hospital was the type of hospital in which foodborne outbreaks most often occurred, but the risk of being affected in an outbreak not due to food seemed to be highest in maternity units. Better control of infection and better surveillance should lead to earlier investigation and control of outbreaks.