When applicable, case-crossover studies may be quicker and cheaper to complete than case-control studies. Because time is a major issue in outbreak investigations, we evaluated the interest of this design during a continuous common source food-borne outbreak of salmonellosis for which the vehicle (hamburgers) was also implicated by environmental and laboratory investigations. Seventeen of the 35 cases identified in the outbreak were included in the study according to the availability of menu records with detailed information on food consumed at each meal. Food exposures during a 3-day risk period before onset of illness were compared to those of a control time-interval of the same duration that preceded the risk period by two days. Seventy-seven per cent of the cases (13/17) had consumed hamburgers in the three days preceding onset of illness compared with 29% (5/17) during the control period (P = 0.04, odds ratio = 5, 95% CI: 1.1-46.9). In this investigation the case-crossover design proved to be a useful and efficient alternative to the case-control approach. However, further evaluation of this design in outbreak investigation is needed.
Auteur : Haeghebaert S, Duche L, Desenclos JC
Epidemiology and Infection, 2003, vol. 131, n°. 2, p. 809-13