CDC Lists Top Pathogens for Foodborne Illnesses

HealthDay News — US health officials have made progress against Salmonella infections, according to research published in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In 2016, there was an 18% drop in illnesses caused by Salmonella, according to the report. Tougher regulations and more vaccinations of chickens most likely explain the decrease, the researchers said. Still, most of the reported bacterial foodborne illnesses in the United States in 2016 were caused by Campylobacter bacteria and Salmonella. In total, FoodNet sites reported 24,029 foodborne infections, 5512 hospitalizations, and 98 deaths.

The numbers of reported foodborne illnesses caused by specific germs were: Campylobacter (8547); Salmonella (8172); Shigella (2913); Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (1845); Cryptosporidium (1816); Yersinia (302); Vibrio (252); Listeria (127); and Cyclospora (55).

While Salmonella infections decreased, reported Yersinia, Cryptosporidium, and Shiga toxin-producing E coli infections increased, the researchers found. That was likely due to new rapid tests that make these infections easier to diagnose, rather than an actual increase in illnesses caused by these germs, the researchers noted.

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Marder EP, Cieslak PR, Cronquist AB, et al. Incidence and trends of infections with pathogens transmitted commonly through food and the effect of increasing use of culture-independent diagnostic tests on surveillance – foodborne diseases active surveillance network, 10 US sites, 2013-2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017;66:397-403. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6615a1