Gastroenteritis following a Barbecue in Northern Ireland

Source: Dr. Lorraine Doherty, Dr. Maureen Mc Cartney, and Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell; revision: EPIET, September 2004
Date published
Oct, 2004
Last updated
22 Jan 2020


You are the public health doctor on duty for communicable disease emergencies in your health board area, population 650,000. A general practitioner (GP) from a farming community in the health board area telephones to tell you he has seen four patients with severe gastroenteritis since 20 July 1995; 1 patient has been hospitalised. All four patients attended a fundraising barbecue to raise money for the local church on 18 July 1995. 

Learning Objectives:

At the end of the case study, the participant should be able to:

  • Understand the operational and epidemiological steps of an outbreak investigation
  • Draw and interpret an epidemic curve
  • Calculate and interpret food specific attack rates
  • Understand environmental investigations and control measures