A newly published study by scientists at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (TPH) in Basel has established a link between an unusual increase in human cases of campylobacteriosis over Christmas and New Year and the consumption Fondue chinoise with chicken.
Campylobacter is the commonest cause of foodborne disease in Switzerland, with between 7000 and 8000 people being affected each year. The number of cases peaks over the festive season and the Swiss TPH team carried out a case control study to investigate the cause, based on reported data and telephone interviews with confirmed cases.
The researchers looked at risk factors for Campylobacter infection, one of which was found to be the consumption of Fondue chinoise. The risk of infection was increased fourfold by consuming this dish and about half of all cases recorded over the period in question could be attributed to this source. They also found that the risk of infection could be reduced by a factor of up to five by adopting simple hygiene practices, such as using separate plates for raw and cooked meat, or using meat that had been previously frozen.
The study is published in the European Journal of Epidemiology and can be found here.