Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Masters of Science (Research)


Biological and Pharmaceutical Science

First Advisor

Dr Mary Concannon


There is great variation in the extent of surveillance of foodbome disease throughout the world. Some countries contribute important epidemiological and microbiological data to the WHO Surveillance Programme for Foodbome Diseases in Europe. While the UK is a major contributor to this programme, data from Eire has been non-existent. Trends in the incidence of foodbome disease in the UK may have particular relevance to Eire given the similarity of culture. Microbiological and epidemiological data in relation to foodbome pathogens, foods most frequently incriminated in outbreaks, places where outbreaks occur, together witli the main contributory factors are discussed. The broader area of the surveillance of gastro-mtestinal infectious diseases is discussed m this context, as the two most frequently isolated enteropathogens in the UK, Campylobacter and Salmonella sps, are transmitted mainly through the food chain. Formal surveillance of gastro-intestinal infections is relatively new in EIRE. Emerging trends from the Dublin and Cork Units are discussed and compared with trends in the UK. Trends in relation to statutory notifications of food poisoning are further considered. Finally, strategies for the control of foodbome diseases are examined. In this, it is established that the elimination of pathogens, particularly Salmonella sps. at piimary breeding level in poultry is the most effective way of reducing infection in humans. However, other strategies and approaches are also considered. These include food irradiation, the concept of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, the role of hygiene education, and the case for establishing a formal surveillance programme for foodbome disease in Eire. The kitchen as the final line of defence is given extensive discussion. The importance of temperature control in the food service and retail grocery trade in particular is further considered. The potential for water as a source of infection and intoxication is also highlighted. Final conclusions and recommendations are outlined.

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