A foodborne outbreak of Cryptosporidium hominis infection

S. Ethelberg, M. Lisby, L. S. Vestergaard, Heidi L. Enemark, K. E. P. Olsen, H. V. Nielsen, R. Stensvold, Lone Jannok Porsbo, A. Plesner, K. Mølbak

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Foodborne outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis are uncommon. In Denmark human cases are generally infrequently diagnosed. In 2005 an outbreak of diarrhoea affected company employees near Copenhagen. In all 99 employees were reported ill; 13 were positive for Cryptosporidium hominis infection. Two analytical epidemiological studies were performed; an initial case-control study followed by a cohort study using an electronic questionnaire. Disease was associated with eating from the canteen salad bar on one, possibly two, specific weekdays [relative risk 4-1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.1-8.3]. Three separate salad bar ingredients were found to be likely sources: peeled whole carrots served in a bowl of water, grated carrots, and red peppers (in multivariate analysis, whole carrots: OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1-4.0; grated carrots: OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.2-3.9; peppers: OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.7-6.6). We speculate that a person excreting the parasite may have contaminated the salad buffet.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Issue numberSpecial Issue 3
Pages (from-to)348-356
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Case-control study
  • foodborne outbreak
  • Cryptosporidium hominis
  • cohort study


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