In 1997, a community-wide outbreak of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium (S. typhimurium) infection occurred in France. The investigation included case searching and a case-control study. A case was defined as a resident of the Jura district with fever or diarrhoea between 12 May and 8 July 1997, from whom S. typhimurium was isolated in stool or blood. One hundred and thirteen cases were identified. Thirty-three (83%) of 40 cases but only 23 (55%) of 42 community controls, matched for age and area of residence, reported eating Morbier cheese (Odds ratio: 6·5; 95% Confidence Interval: 1·4–28·8). Morbier cheese samples taken from the refrigerators of two case-patients and one symptom-free neighbour cultured positive for S. typhimurium of the same phage type as the human isolates. The analysis of distribution channels incriminated one batch from a single processing plant. These findings show that an unpasteurized soft cheese is an effective vehicle of S. typhimurium transmission.
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