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Mortality associated with foodborne bacterial gastrointestinal infections : Authors' reply

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 05 June 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1266
  1. Morten Helms, research fellow,
  2. Pernille Vastrup, statistician,
  3. Kåre Mølbak, staff specialist
  1. Statens Serum Institut, DK-2300 Copenhagen, Denmark

    EDITOR—Our study was unique because it included patients with infectious gastro-enteritis, by and large people who sought care from their family doctor and had no severe underlying illness. The concerns that O'Brien and Feldman raise about bias introduced by case selection is likely to be less relevant in Denmark as the Danish counties reimburse laboratory costs, and for epidemiological reasons doctors often request stool specimens. Our study was the first to determine mortality while adjusting for background mortality. This was pivotal because gastrointestinal infections often affect elderly people. Furthermore, we adjusted for comorbidity by using data from the national discharge registry. We applied the principles described by Charlson et al,1 but calculated new …

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