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Tatev Khachatryan

Contaminated Food Caused 50-60% of Intestinal Infections in Armenia

Of the 1,079 cases of infectious intestinal sickness registered in Armenia during the first six months of 2017, 333 occurred in Yerevan.

According to data Hetq received from the Ministry of Health, 50-60% of infectious intestinal cases in 2016-2017 and January of this year were food-related. The main culprit is coming into contact with sick animals or consuming tainted dairy products.

Intestinal Ailments on the Rise in Armenia

According to a report on the matter, intestinal ailments intensify in the summer, when the temperatures rise.

Some of the most common ailments are salmonellosis, brucellosis, shigellosis and tularemia.

In September 2017, 25 cases of shigellosis were reported.

And intestinal ailments are on the rise in Armenia. Between January and May 2017, 143 cases on intestinal ailments were registered, up from 104 in the same period in 2016.

Most 2017 intestinal sickness cases occurred in the provinces of Syunik, Kotayk and Armavir. Tavoush and Shirak registered the fewest.

No deaths from infectious intestinal diseases or consuming contaminated food were registered in Armenia for the past two years.

Rise in Brucellosis

Brucellosis in humans occurs when a person comes into contact with an animal or animal product infected with the Brucella bacteria. General symptoms of brucellosis are often vague and similar to the flu. They may include: Fever (the most common symptom, with high "spikes" that usually occur in the afternoon), back pain, body-wide aches and pains, poor appetite and weight loss, headache, night sweats and weakness.

Three Outbreaks in One Month             

Armenia experienced three outbreaks of infectious intestinal diseases in September 2017.

At P.S. 3 in Goris, 48 pupils were diagnosed with shigellosis (severe diarrhea/dysentery) and 37 were hospitalized. The cause was found to be contaminated school food.

Twelves residents contracted a variety of intestinal ailments in the Aragatzotn community of Sasounik. All were hospitalized.

Contaminated water caused 37 cases of intestinal infection in the Lori community of Metzavan.  Fourteen residents were hospitalized.

74 Children Contract Intestinal Infections from School Food

From January 2016-January 2018, three cases of contaminated school food resulted in 74 children getting sick in Armenia. These occurred in a Hrazdan kindergarten, and schools in Goris and Tchotchkan.

Armenia’s Food Safety Service registered 179 sanitary code violations in the country’s kindergartens between 2013 and 2017. Only three occurred in Yerevan. Ararat Province topped the list at 33.

Consequences of Long-Term Consumption of Unsafe Food

Days before his March 3 death, due to a heart attack, Armenia’s Chief Infectious Diseases Physician Ara Asoyan, sounded the alarm about consuming foods that don’t meet health standards.

Long-term consumption of foods than contain trace amounts of antibiotics can negatively impact one’s health, and can also trigger allergic and  anaphylactic shock, and depress the intestine’s microflora, leading to microflora disorders and fungal infections.

The Ministry of Health told Hetq that it constantly takes steps to prevent the spread of intestinal ailments.


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