Foodborne Illness Outbreak Database

This database provides summaries of significant food and water related outbreaks occurring since 1984 caused by E. coli, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, Campylobacter and other pathogens. Read more »

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Northwest Airlines Flights Cold Food Items 1988

An outbreak of a single strain of Shigella sonnei resulted from the consumption of mass-produced, cold food items served on domestic and international Northwest Airlines flights. The outbreak was first detected when members of the Minnesota Vikings football team became ill. The implicated cold food items were all prepared by hand in the Northwest Airlines flight kitchen. Shigella sonnei with a different genetic pattern was isolated from one of 24 heads of leaf lettuce collected at a warehouse of a distributor to the flight kitchen. The environmental and laboratory investigations suggested that cold food items were likely contaminated by one or more infected food handlers.

  • Outbreak began:
  • September 1988
  • Affected Country:
  • International
  • Affected States/Territories:
  • Minnesota
  • Organism(s):
  • Shigella
  • Vehicle(s):
  • Sandwiches, cold food
  • Molecular Results Available:
  • Unknown
  • Test Results:
  • None
  • Location(s):
  • Airlines Flights
  • Brand Name(s):
  • Product Subject to Recall:
  • Unknown
  • Total ill:
  • 261
  • Number ill by Case Definition Known:
  • Unknown
  • Number Laboratory Confirmed Cases:
  • N/A
  • Number Probable Cases:
  • N/A
  • Number Possible Cases:
  • N/A
  • Anyone Hospitalized:
  • Unknown
  • Number Hospitalized:
  • Unknown
  • Any Deaths:
  • Unknown
  • Number Dead:
  • Unknown
  • Any References:
  • Yes

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