Incidences of foodborne illnesses stagnate

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Foodborne illness, Cdc, Salmonella

The numbers of foodborne infections in the US have stagnated after
a period of decline, indicating the need for further prevention
efforts, a new report claims.

According to data from FoodNet, a surveillance network of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there has been no significant decline in the incidence of some foodborne infections since 2004. "The results show that prevention efforts have been partly successful, but there has been little further progress in the most recent years,"​ said Dr. Robert Tauxe, deputy director of CDC's division of foodborne, bacterial and mycotic diseases. "More needs to be done to make our food safer." ​ Oubreaks of campylobacter, listeria, salmonella, shigella, E.coli O157, vibrio, and yersinia "did not decline significantly"​, the report said. Campylobacter and salmonella were also the two most common causes of illness in 2007, with rates of 13 cases every 100,000 people, the report said. According to the CDC, incidence of cryptosporidium jumped 44 percent higher in 2007 compared with the 2004-2006 average. Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that causes cryptosporidiosis, a form of gastroenteritis that can be serious for children, the elderly, pregnant women and people who are ill. Watery diarrhoea is the most common symptom. The researchers did not state how many individuals died because of outbreaks in 2007, but general CDC estimates state that 5,000 Americans die each year from food-borne illnesses, out of a total of 76 million people who get sick. In 2007, several food companies were linked to outbreaks of foodborne illnesses such as salmonella. In April, ConAgra was forced to recall Peter Pan and Great Value branded peanut butter products linked to a contaminated plant in Georgia. The products are linked to a salmonella outbreak that sickened at least 425 people in 44 states. And later in the year Castleberry recalled nine products after several cases of botulism were traced back to its Hot Dog Chili Sauce Original products.

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