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In late February the Communicable Disease Control Branch, South Australia was notified of an unusual number of cases of gastroenteritis. This was later determined to be caused by Salmonella Typhimurium phage type 135a. A case control study conducted on 6 and 7 March implicated a brand of commercially packaged fresh unpasteurised orange juice. On 8 March a bacteria presumptively identified as a Salmonella was isolated from a sample of the suspect brand purchased unopened from a retailer. A product recall was issued that day. On 10 March the presumptive Salmonella isolated from the juice 2 days previous was definitively identified as S. Typhimurium PT135a. As at 23 March, 405 cases of infection with this Salmonella had been laboratory confirmed and investigations are continuing into the source of the contamination of the orange juice. Although this product may be distributed to States other than South Australia there are, as yet, no reports of this unusual phage type causing recent infections in humans elsewhere in Australia.
This article was published in Communicable Diseases Intelligence Volume 23, No 3, 18 March 1999.