Epidemiology of Collective Food poisoning in Tlemcen- Western Algeria: A retrospective analysis of data from 2011-2020
Food poisoning is a serious public health problem in the world that needs to be addressed as early as possible. However, mitigation efforts can be possi-ble only when data and information resulting from the implementation of monitoring or continuous surveillance are available. Here we report a study that was conducted taking into account all the data of poisoning report sheets, filled in by the doctor in charge of the case or, failing that, by the nurse, coming from health facilities (in sixteen regions in Tlemcen) were in-cluded in the analysis. For data processing, we have used some descriptive tools such as the frequencies and the lethality rates. The description of the sample concerned the characteristics of the poisoned population (year, gen-der, age, origin, hospitalisation, etc.) and the characteristics related to the suspected food. The survey showed a concentration of family focus, espe-cially in urban areas. Meats, Chickens and cream filled bakery food were the three most important incriminated foods and most of the infections in the outbreaks were related to fecal coliform, Clostridium and Staphylococcus. Some of the factors identified to contribute to food poisoning were lack of self-hygiene by food handlers and poor water and environmental supplies, poor preservation of food, the consumption of inadequately cooked or thawed meat or chicken, cross-contamination of food from infected food handlers, as well as the lack of awareness and information transmission and the lack of health infrastructures and means of communications. The present study highlights the needs for creating adequate infrastructure related to hygiene, regular epidemiological monitoring and increasing the awareness level of the residents.