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Home / Health / After diarrhoeal diseases, food poisoning commonest reported outbreak in India

After diarrhoeal diseases, food poisoning commonest reported outbreak in India

Data from the Union health ministry shows that out of 1,649 disease outbreaks reported till December 3 this year, 312 were of ADD and 242 of food poisoning.

health Updated: Dec 30, 2017 19:57 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
There is enough evidence to show that food poisoning is a major cause for concern when it comes to disease outbreaks in the country, according to the NCDC.
There is enough evidence to show that food poisoning is a major cause for concern when it comes to disease outbreaks in the country, according to the NCDC.(HT FILE PHOTO)

After acute diarrhoeal disease (ADD), food poisoning is the commonest outbreaks reported in India, shows government data.

Data from the Union health ministry shows that out of 1,649 disease outbreaks reported till December 3 this year, 312 were of ADD and 242 of food poisoning.

India’s Food Poisoning Outbreaks
  • 2017*: 242
  • 2016: 395
  • 2015: 328
  • 2014: 306
  • 2013: 370
  • 2012: 255
  • 2011: 305
  • 2010: 184
  • 2009: 120
  • 2008: 50

“We have enough evidence to show that food poisoning is a major cause for concern when it comes to disease outbreaks in the country. It mostly stays in the top five outbreaks,” said Dr AC Dhariwal, director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

NCDC is the agency under the health ministry that documents outbreaks-related data under its disease surveillance programme.

“Food poisoning episodes are reported especially from places where food has been produced in bulk, such as weddings, hostels, canteens and festivals. What we have seen is that milk and milk products are particularly responsible for causing diarrhoea and vomiting,” Dr Dhariwal said.

“And it is not just the quality of food per se that it to be always blamed for the outbreak but also food handlers sometimes as they don’t follow adequate food safety measures. Hand hygiene is an import issue,” he observed.

In the last 10 years, food poisoning outbreaks has seen a jump of more than 85% from 50 episodes in 2008 to 395 in 2016.

There has been a constant rise in the food poisoning outbreaks since 2008.

Experts attribute the rising episodes also to better reporting.

“Over a period of time our reporting system has improved; and we are encouraging more and more states to report cases in a proper manner,” Dr Dhariwal said.

ADD outbreaks top the list, especially in areas where large slums, tribal pockets, far-flung rural and hilly areas.

NCDC has shared information with the ministry of water and sanitation to highlight areas of focus.

“The good thing, however, is that the overall mortality is less. Cholera used to be a major threat that has come down in the past 10 years,” Dr Dhariwal said.

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