Some US Foodborne Disease Infections Down in 2014

US - Rates of infection of common Salmonella and E. coli types decreased during 2014, according to data from the US public health organisation Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
calendar icon 15 May 2015
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The data are from FoodNet, CDC’s active surveillance system that tracks nine common foodborne pathogens in 10 states and monitors trends in foodborne illness in about 15 per cent of the US population.

Salmonella and Campylobacter were by far the most common diseases reported, accounting for about 14,000 of the 19,000 infections reported.

Whilst the more common Salmonella serotypes decreased, less common types such as Javiana and Infantis more than doubled, for reasons that are unclear.

Salmonella javiana is concentrated in the southeastern United States, but has been spreading within the Southeast and to other areas of the country. However, when all Salmonella serotypes are combined, there was no change in 2014.

Campylobacter increased by 13 per cent and Vibrio increased by 52 per cent compared with 2006-2008. Yersinia has declined enough to meet the Healthy People 2020 goal.

Infection with Shiga-toxin producing E. coli O157, which can sometimes lead to kidney failure, decreased 32 per cent when compared with 2006-2008 and 19 per cent when compared with the most recent three years. These infections are often linked to consumption of undercooked ground beef and raw leafy vegetables.

“We’re cautiously optimistic that changes in food safety practice are having an impact in decreasing E. coli and we know that without all the food safety work to fight Salmonella that more people would be getting sick with Salmonella than we are seeing now,” said Robert Tauxe, deputy director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases.

The North American Meat Institute was pleased with the results, with vice president of scientific affairs Dr Betsy Booren saying: “The CDC data is another strong indication that industry and government efforts are working to reduce foodborne illnesses from major pathogens of concern, which is consistent with major declines in pathogen rates we’ve seen on meat and poultry products in recent years.

“We’re committed to working with the government to continue these improvements and seek out ways to lower foodborne illnesses across all foods.”

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