Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases: Staphylococcus aureus
Several enterotoxins of Staphylococcus aureus1.
Illness commonly lasts 1-2 days.
- Occurs worldwide.
- Uncommon in the UK2.
Humans, occasionally cows with infected udders, dogs and fowl1.
Mode of transmission
Ingestion of food contaminated with staphylococcal enterotoxin.
30 minutes - 8 hours, commonly 2-4 hours.
Period of Communicability
No person to person spread.
No specific treatment indicated. Fluid replacement when indicated.
Prevention and control
- Keep cooked hot food above 600C if not served immediately.
- Rapid cooling of cooked food.
- Store cold foods below 40C
- Follow correct food hygiene practices for food preparation and cooking in domestic and commercial kitchens as described by the WHO five keys to safer food3.
- Prevent cross contamination of raw and cooked food by washing hands before, during and after food preparation. Wash and sanitize all equipment, surfaces and utensils used for food preparation.
- Separate raw and cooked food, and use separate equipment and utensils for handling raw food.
- Cook food thoroughly (until centre of food reaches at least 70oC).
- Reheat cooked food thoroughly, and store cooked and raw food at a safe temperature.
- Use safe water and raw materials, e.g. pasteurized milk and water.
- Wash fruit and vegetables.
- Heymann D L, editor, Control of Communicable Disease Manual. 18th ed. American Public Health Association; 2004.
- Hawker J, Begg N, Blair I, Reintjes R, Weinberg J. Communicable Disease Control Handbook, Blackwell, 2005.
- World Health Organization: 5 Keys to Safer Food. Available at: http://www.who.int/foodsafety
© CM Kirwan 2006