Multistate foodborne disease outbreaks especially dangerous

| November 17, 2015

us mapAccording to a recently published report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), multistate outbreaks in the USA cause more than half of reported foodborne disease-related deaths despite accounting for only 3% of all reported outbreaks.

The CDC Vital Signs report states that 91% of multistate outbreaks are caused by Salmonella, Listeria, or E. coli. These pathogens are considered more dangerous than the leading causes of single state outbreaks and can be widely distributed as contaminants in fresh produce and meat products.

The report analysed surveillance data from the period from 2010 to 2014 and identified 120 multistate outbreaks. These were responsible for 11% of all foodborne outbreak illnesses, but caused a disproportionate 34% of hospitalisations and 56% of deaths.

The three largest outbreaks were caused by Salmonella and were traced to eggs, chicken and raw ground tuna. Most of the reported deaths were caused by Listeria, mainly during a 2011 outbreak linked to cantaloupes that killed 33 people.

The Vital Signs report recommends measures to speed up the investigation of multistate outbreaks and highlights the role of the food industry in preventing outbreaks by following best practices and improving traceability.

The report can be found in full here.

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