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E. coli Declines, but Other Foodborne Illnesses a Worry
Date:4/15/2010

s, frogs or their environment and from drinking contaminated water, Braden added.

Shigella and E.coli infections have decreased significantly since 2006.

"Infections of STEC 0157 [E. coli] , which causes one of the most severe forms of illness, showed an early decline, then plateaued," Braden said. "Then, in 2009, it decreased by 25 percent compared with the previous three years and has reached its lowest level since 2004. The decrease may be due to continuing efforts to decrease contamination of ground beef and leafy green vegetables consumed raw."

Although the incidence of Vibrio-related illness is up, the pathogen causes only a small percentage of overall foodborne illness, Braden said.

"The illnesses are typically attributed to temperature exposure of the shellfish after they're harvested so we have been trying to improve the practices in the industry in that regard," said Donald Kraemer, deputy director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Office of Food Safety. "States have, within the last couple of years, implemented some controls but unfortunately we haven't seen the numbers come down so we are taking a look at why that is."

But officials emphasized that consumers can implement protective measures in their own homes.

"Consumers can always protect themselves if they follow our four safe-handling guidelines: clean, separate, cook and chill," said Dr. David Goldman, assistant administrator of the Office of Public Health Science, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service. "This provides some extra measure of safety."

More information

There's more on foodborne illness at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



SOURCES: April 15, 2010 press teleconference with Chris Bra
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