TUESDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- As a deadly new strain of E. coli in Europe makes headlines, U.S. health officials announced Tuesday that salmonella, not E. coli, remains the biggest foodborne health threat to Americans.
In fact, while rates of several types of foodborne illness -- including E. coli -- have been falling over the past 15 years, there's been no progress against salmonella infections, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While infections from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157 (the strain of most concern in the United States) have dropped almost in half and the rates of six other foodborne infections have been cut 23 percent, salmonella infections have risen 10 percent, the agency said.
"There are about 50 million people each year who become sick from food in the U.S. That's about one in six Americans," CDC director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said during a noon press conference Tuesday.
In addition, about 128,000 people are hospitalized and about 3,000 die from foodborne illnesses each year, he added.
"We need to do more, because foodborne illnesses are too common," Frieden said.
The CDC's report on foodborne illness is timely in light of the deadly E. coli outbreak in Germany, which has already sickened more than 2,200 and caused 22 deaths. The E. coli found in Germany is a cousin to E. coli O157 found in the United States. Both produce the Shiga toxin that can cause kidney failure and death.
This new report from the CDC includes data from the 2010 CDC's Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, called FoodNet, which collects data on laboratory confirmed cases of foodborne illness.
In 2010, there were 20,000 illnesses, 4,200 hospitalizations and 68 deaths from nine types of foodborne infections, reported via FoodNet.
Of those, salmonella accounted for 8,200 infections, including 2,300 hosp
All rights reserved