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NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

Investigation of an outbreak of acute illness in a school group visiting Sydney, September 2006 Volume 19 Issue 1-2

Trish Mannes, Bradley Forssman, Leena Gupta, Mark Ferson, Simone Christopher, Jeremy McAnulty, Jennie Musto

New South Wales Public Health Bulletin 19(2) 20–23 Published online: 28 February 2008

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About the author/s

Trish Mannes

Bradley Forssman

Leena Gupta

Mark Ferson

Simone Christopher

Jeremy McAnulty

Jennie Musto


Objective: We describe the investigation into an outbreak of acute illness in approximately 40 people attending Darling Harbour in Sydney during a school music camp. Methods: We used three methods, including the Public Health Realtime Emergency Department Surveillance System, to obtain information on the food and travel history of the group and symptoms of the cases rapidly. Results: Forty-five cases of gastroenteritis were identified in people on the bus trip. Most dates of onset of illness were obtained from triage text fields in the NSW Public Health Real Time Emergency Department Surveillance System, and were verified through medical record review and interviews. No causative agent was identified. Conclusion: The investigation suggested person-to-person transmission rather than a point source, and demonstrates how the NSW Public Health Real Time Emergency Department Surveillance System can assist with case finding in public health investigations.