J Korean Med Sci.  2018 Sep;33(38):e235. 10.3346/jkms.2018.33.e235.

An Outbreak of Scombroid Fish Poisoning Associated with Consumption of Yellowtail Fish in Seoul, Korea

Affiliations
  • 1Environmental Health Division, Seoul Metropolitan Government, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Division of Health Management, Seongbuk-gu Public Health Center, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Disease Research, Seoul Institute of Public Health and Environment, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Department of Epidemiology, Seoul National University Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul, Korea. scho@snu.ac.kr

Abstract

BACKGROUND
In November 2016, an outbreak of scombroid fish poisoning occurred among elementary school students in Seoul, Korea. An epidemiological investigation was conducted to identify the cause and source of the illness.
METHODS
A case-control study was conducted among school members who had eaten lunch in the school. The histamine level in the suspect food item (yellowtail steak) was measured.
RESULTS
Fifty-five (5.4%) of 1,017 school members who consumed fish for lunch fell ill. The principal symptoms were flushing (100%) and headache (72.7%); the median incubation period was 40 minutes. All had consumed yellowtail steak (odds ratio, 9.24; 95% confidence interval, 1.22-69.91). Leftover steak had an elevated histamine level (293 mg/kg), higher than the allowed 200 mg/kg.
CONCLUSION
An outbreak of scombroid fish poisoning was confirmed; this is the first such report in Korea. Detailed food safety guidelines must be established.

Keyword

Scombroid Fish Poisoning; Histamine; Food Poisoning; Foodborne Outbreak; Seoul Metropolitan Government
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