Report says that U.S. makes no progress in Salmonella during past 15 years

13:46, June 08, 2011      

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Salmonella infections have not decreased during the past 15 years and have instead increased by 10 percent in recent years in the United States, according to a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

During the same time period, illnesses from the serious Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157 have been cut nearly in half and the overall rates of foodborne infections have been reduced by 23 percent, the new Vital Signs report said.

The report summarizes 2010 data from CDC's Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), which serves as America's report card for food safety by tracking whether nine of the most common infections transmitted through foods are increasing or decreasing.

"Although foodborne infections have decreased by nearly one-fourth in the past 15 years, more than one million people in this country become ill from Salmonella each year, and Salmonella accounts for about half of the hospitalizations and deaths among the nine foodborne illnesses CDC tracks through FoodNet," said CDC Director Thomas Frieden in a statement.

In 2010, FoodNet sites, which include about 15 percent of the American population, reported nearly 20,000 illnesses, 4,200 hospitalizations and 68 deaths from nine foodborne infections. Of those, Salmonella caused more than 8,200 infections, nearly 2,300 hospitalizations and 29 deaths (54 percent of the total hospitalizations and 43 percent of the total deaths reported through FoodNet). CDC estimates that there are 29 infections for every lab-confirmed Salmonella infection.

Salmonella, which is responsible for an estimated 365 million U.S. dollars in direct medical costs each year in the United States, can be challenging to address because so many different foods like meats, eggs, produce, and even processed foods, can become contaminated with it and finding the source can be challenging because it can be introduced in many different ways.

In response to that challenge, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates eggs, produce and many processed foods, has developed new rules for the egg industry to follow under its recently expanded regulatory authorities.

The rate of E. coli O157 cases reported by FoodNet was two cases per 100,000 people in 1997 and, by 2010, had decreased to 0.9 cases per 100,000 people. The CDC credits the reduction in E. coli to improved detection and investigation of outbreaks, cleaner slaughter methods, better inspections of ground beef processing plants, and increased awareness by consumers and restaurant employees of the importance of properly cooking beef.

Source: Xinhua
 
 
     
 
 
 
     
 
 
 
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