Navigation Links
Food Poisoning Hits 1 in 6 Americans Each Year: CDC

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Each year in the United States some 48 million people, or one in every six Americans, are sickened by the food they eat, according to two federal health reports issued Wednesday.

Of those who get sick, about 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die annually, and many of the deaths and hospitalizations are due to salmonella, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. It was salmonella that led to the massive recall earlier this year of millions of suspect eggs.

The number of people reported as affected by foodborne illness has dipped from previous years, the CDC said, but that's mostly due to improvement in the quality and quantity of the data used and new methods used to estimate foodborne disease.

The bottom line is that "these illnesses are associated with billions in health care costs, and have a substantial human cost in severe illnesses and, in some cases, long-term health effects," Dr. Chris Braden, acting director of CDC's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases said during a morning press conference.

"These are preventable diseases," he said. "For many of these diseases we know what interventions work to prevent them and we need to do more to lower the impact of these diseases in the United States."

Of the 48 million annual illnesses, 9.4 million result from 31 known foodborne pathogens. The other 38 million illnesses are from unspecified pathogens, which include known diseases, but without enough data for accurate estimates. These include pathogens not yet known to cause foodborne illness and pathogens not yet discovered, Braden said.

"If we could reduce foodborne illnesses by just 1 percent we could keep 500,000 people each year from getting sick from the foods that they eat," he noted.

Other key findings in the two reports:

  • Salmonella was responsible for about 28 percent of deaths and 35 percent of hospitalizations.
  • Seven pathogens accounted for about 90 percent of estimated illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths: Salmonella, norovirus, Campylobacter, Toxoplasma, E. coli O157, Listeria and Clostridium perfringens.
  • Almost 60 percent of less severe illnesses were caused by one pathogen: norovirus.

The two reports are published in the Dec. 15 online edition of the CDC's journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, and update the last report on foodborne illness issued in 1999.

The new estimates of deaths and hospitalizations are lower than in the 1999 report, probably because the amount and quality of data has improved and experts now have better methods to gauge foodborne disease, Braden said.

He noted that data from CDC's FoodNet surveillance system, which tracks trends of common foodborne pathogens, has shown a 20 percent decrease in illnesses from key pathogens during the past 10 years. However, the FoodNet pathogens account for only a small number of the illnesses included in the new estimates, Braden added.

For these and other reasons, one cannot compare the 1999 report with the new reports or FoodNet data to really determine whether or not there is more or less foodborne illness today than 10 years ago, or what pathogens are involved in all cases, he said.

Commenting on the reports, infectious disease expert Dr. Marc Siegel, associate professor of medicine at New York University in New York City, said that "it's important that most of foodborne illness is due to norovirus. That's what a lot of us believed and it's one of the reasons we don't put people on antibiotics when they come in with diarrhea or vomiting -- because there is no treatment for norovirus."

In addition, because so many illnesses are being caused by unidentified pathogens, "that really ramps up the need for better scrutiny, better surveillance and better prevention techniques and better screening tests for pathogens," he said.

Many of these food outbreaks are due to sloppiness in food processing, Siegel said.

"I'm not a big government guy, but there could be stronger standards," he said. "These articles identify what is just an awful problem in the United States, which is foodborne illness."

More information

For more information on foodborne illness, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Marc Siegel, M.D., associate professor, medicine, New York University, New York City; Dec. 15, 2010, teleconference with: Chris Braden, M.D., acting director, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Elaine Scallan, Ph.D., assistant clinical professor, University of Colorado-Boulder; Dec. 15, 2010, Emerging Infectious Diseases, online

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Bitrex Bitter Safety Additive Exhibiting at the Safe Kids Fair 2010; Making a Bitter Face to Learn about Poisoning Prevention
2. MSU scientists develop more effective method of predicting lead-poisoning risk
3. Mother of Binge Drinking Victim Urges Students and Parents to Discuss Signs of Alcohol Poisoning, Emphasize Peer Responsibility Prior to Spring Break
4. Educates Homeowners on Lead Poisoning Safeguards During National Poison Prevention Week
5. Poisoning by prescription drugs on the rise
6. Food Poisoning Suspected in 3 Deaths, 40 Illnesses at Central State Hospital in Pineville, LA
7. DTWI's Travel Carbon Monoxide Detector Prevents Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Whilst Holidaying Abroad, or in the UK
8. Scientists offer solutions to arsenic groundwater poisoning in southern Asia
9. Lead Poisoning Unlikely Cause of Beethovens Death
10. Lead poisoning highly prevalent among school-aged children in Uganda
11. Human Meds Are Pets Biggest Poisoning Danger
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Food Poisoning Hits 1 in 6 Americans Each Year: CDC  
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... strategic partnership with Connance, a healthcare industry leader providing predictive analytics to ... technology combine to provide health systems, hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers with ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... 2016 , ... On June 10-11, 2016, A Forever Recovery, a holistic treatment ... Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, where the rehabilitation facility is located. This ... of the world’s leading providers of cereal and other breakfast foods. Its residents often ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Many women are confused ... endometriosis. These women need a treatment plan to not only alleviate symptoms and ... help for preservation of fertility and ultimately achieving a pregnancy. The specialists at ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, FCPX ... Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms over ... Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above media ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the ... to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The ... Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  Astellas today announced the establishment of Astellas Farma Colombia (AFC), a new affiliate with operations headquartered in ... America . ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... N.J. , June 23, 2016  Guerbet announced ... Premier Inc.,s Supplier Horizon Award . ... year, Guerbet was recognized for its support of Premier ... creation through clinical excellence, and commitment to lower costs. ... to receive this recognition of our outstanding customer service ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... the "Surgical Procedure Volumes: Global Analysis (United States, ... Australia, Canada)" report to their offering. ... an essential tool for healthcare business planners, provides surgical ... looks at surgery trends with an in-depth analysis of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: