Staphylococcus aureus food-poisoning outbreak associated with the consumption of ice-cream
In April 2013, a food poisoning outbreak caused by staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs) in ice-cream occurred in Freiburg, Germany, among the 31 participants of a christening party. Of the 13 cases, seven were hospitalized or obtained ambulatory treatment. Different types of ice-cream, which was freshly produced at the hotel where the party took place, were found to contain SE and high amounts of coagulase positive staphylococci. Enterotoxigenic Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from ice-cream and human cases were of the same spa-type (t127), harboured the sea gene and displayed identical phenotypic resistance-, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy- (FT-IR) and microarray-profiles. Despite the strong microbiological and epidemiological evidence of ice-cream being the incriminated food vehicle of the outbreak, a common source of S. aureus from the ice-cream could not be deduced. As none of the employees carried the outbreak strain, either the equipment used for the production of the ice-cream or a contaminated ingredient is the most likely introduction source.