MBBS Batch 5&6 DHO Baling – Outbreak investigation


The topic scheduled for the day was “Outbreak investigation” . PPKP Rosli Mansor briefed us on how a certain outbreaks such as food poisoning and cholera were tackled in Baling.

In terms of food poisoning, one episode is considered when one or more cases of similar symptoms develop in individuals. The definition of case in association with food poisoning includes an individual developing symptom or symptoms of food poisoning and receives treatment for these symptoms.

Epi-Info is a statistical table that the district health office forms to calculate whether the food consumed is significant to that particular episode of food poisoning. This data helps the health officers identify the true cause of food poisoning.

From the point of notification of case, the health officers would sent teams to clarify the cases with the affected individuals that include interviews to identify whether the symptoms suffered are due to food poisoning or a contribute of other factors. Once it has been clarified, then the patients and controls (those consumed the same food but are asymptomatic) are investigated. The final report concerning the outbreak of food poisoning is then sent to the health ministry at state level.

In terms of cholera outbreak, one case in one locality during one incubation period is considered a cholera outbreak.

Upon notification of case, and operation room (Bilik Gerakan) is formed. This unit consists of a health officer (Penolong Pegawai Kesihatan Perseketuan or PPKP), Control team, Investigation team, Case detection team and Health control unit.

The health officer is the head of the operation team. The functions of the control team include isolating and secluding sites and premises identified to be the source of outbreak. Such actions are carried out according to Act 1988. The investigation team identifies the affected individuals in the hospital and interviews them. Among the functions of case detection team is to collect samples from the alleged source of infection. The health control unit plans talks and exhibitions to educate the public regarding such outbreaks.

Upon the setting of the operation room, these teams are then sent to sites affected to carry out their respective responsibilities.

For an outbreak of cholera, the activities of patients are tracked 5 days prior to the onset of symptoms. The case detection team goes to the site to collect samples of rectal swabs and disinfection of areas are done with disinfectants such as sodium hypochlorite 10% or Lysol 1:10.

By Cheah Boon Eu, Source from aimstdho.blogspot.com

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