Salmonellosis Outbreak Detected by Automated Spatiotemporal Analysis - New York City, May-June 2019.MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Jul 03; 69(26):815-819.MM
In May 2019, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) detected an unusual cluster of five salmonellosis patients via automated spatiotemporal analysis of notifiable diseases using free SaTScan software (1). Within 1 day of cluster detection, graduate student interviewers determined that three of the patients had eaten prepared food from the same grocery store (establishment A) located inside the cluster area. NYCDOHMH initiated an investigation to identify additional cases, establish the cause, and provide control recommendations. Overall, 15 New York City (NYC) residents with laboratory-diagnosed salmonellosis who reported eating food from establishment A were identified. The most commonly consumed food item was chicken, reported by 10 patients. All 11 clinical isolates available were serotyped as Salmonella Blockley, sequenced, and analyzed by core genome multilocus sequence typing; isolates had a median difference of zero alleles. Environmental assessments revealed food not held at the proper temperature, food not cooled properly, and potential cross-contamination during chicken preparation. Elevated fecal coliform counts were found in two of four ready-to-eat food samples collected from establishment A, and Bacillus cereus was detected in three. The outbreak strain of Salmonella was isolated from one patient's leftover chicken. Establishing automated spatiotemporal cluster detection analyses for salmonellosis and other reportable diseases could aid in the detection of geographically focused, community-acquired outbreaks even before laboratory subtyping results become available.