Foodborne Illness Is on the Rise, Says CDC
Today, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data on foodborne illness trends in the U.S.
The report, Preliminary Incidence and Trends of Infections with Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food—Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), 10 U.S. Sites, 2016–2019, summarized preliminary 2019 data gathered from FoodNet and describes changes in incidence compare with that during 2016–2018. FoodNet is a collaboration of CDC, 10 state health departments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
To collect the data, members of FoodNet conduct active, population-based surveillance for laboratory-diagnosed infections caused by Campylobacter, Cyclospora, Listeria, Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), Shigella, Vibrio, and Yersinia at 10 sites covering approximately 15% of the U.S. population (an estimated 49 million persons in 2018).
CDC’s summary of the report tells the following:
What is already known about this topic?
The incidence of most infections transmitted commonly through food has not declined for many years.
What is added by this report?
Incidence of infections caused by Listeria, Salmonella, and Shigella remained unchanged, and those caused by all other pathogens reported to FoodNet increased during 2019. Infections caused by Salmonella serotype Enteritidis, did not decline; however, serotype Typhimurium infections continued to decline.
Campylobacter and Salmonella caused the largest proportion of illnesses; trends in incidence varied by Salmonella serotype.
What are the implications for public health practice?
New strategies that target particular serotypes and more widespread implementation of known prevention measures are needed to reduce Salmonella illnesses. Reductions in Salmonella serotype Typhimurium suggest that targeted interventions (e.g., vaccinating chickens and other food animals) might decrease human infections. Isolates are needed to subtype bacteria so that sources of illnesses can be determined.
CDC's report appears in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for May 1, 2020.