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Study reveals outbreak trend in Malaysia

The number of foodborne disease outbreaks in Malaysia has remained stable for six years, according to a study.

Researchers studied food poisoning incidents in Pahang from 2013 to 2018. Pahang is the largest state in Peninsular Malaysia by area and consists of 11 districts.

The high rate of food poisoning in Malaysia is partly due to its climatic conditions and typical culinary characteristics. Hot and humid climates and the combination of ingredients in typical Malaysian dishes increase the likelihood of food contamination and spoilage, which often leads to increased incidence of food poisoning.

Data from the Ministry of Health Malaysia in 2014 showed that the incidence of food poisoning decreased in 2012 but increased slightly in 2013.

Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus
Posted in In Pahang, the number of reported outbreaks fluctuated from 2013 to 2018, with an average of 21 outbreaks per year, according to the findings in the Journal of Tropical Agricultural Sciences.

Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus are the two most common pathogens in food poisoning cases.

Bacillus cereus was behind 8 outbreaks in 2018, 6 by Staphylococcus aureus, 5 by Salmonella and 2 by Vibrio parahaemolyticus .

In Malaysia, the staple of a typical daily diet is mainly rice. Therefore, the study found that contaminated rice is likely to be a vector for the spread of Bacillus cereus food poisoning in the country.

The most common location for reported food poisoning was public schools, with the highest number of cases in boarding school kitchens, followed by school cafeterias. Boarding school communal kitchens are designed to store large quantities of cooking ingredients.

Factors behind the outbreak
Poor pest control, food handling Increased risk of cross-contamination in processes, including transportation and delivery of raw and cooked food, and inadequate control of manufacturing processes such as temperature control and storage

Unusually high number of food poisoning incidents reported in state capital Kuantan , 48 cases occurred in six years, while Kuala Lipis had only 1 case in 2016. More populous areas like Temerloh have reported more cases of food poisoning than other areas.

Food poisoning occurred mainly in the third and fourth quarters of the year. Scientists say this may be because the climate conditions in Kuantan are affected by the monsoon season, which lasts from November to January. Heavy rainfall can cause flooding and may increase the risk of foodborne and waterborne illnesses.

The researchers said the findings could be used to introduce interventions to reduce the risk of food poisoning and protect consumer health by strengthening food control and foodborne disease surveillance systems to reduce food poisoning in the country The burden of poisoning.

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