TUESDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- Although the incidence of several foodborne infections -- including Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157 -- has declined over the past several years, the incidence of Salmonella infection has not decreased, according to a Vital Signs report in the June 7 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The CDC's Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network conducted surveillance among 15 percent of the U.S. population for laboratory-confirmed infections with nine pathogens transmitted through food. CDC researchers estimated overall and pathogen-specific changes in incidence of these illnesses from 1996-1998 to 2010 and from 2006-2008 to 2010.
The data revealed that 19,089 infections, 4,247 hospitalizations, and 68 deaths were reported in 2010. Salmonella infection was the most commonly reported infection (17.6 illnesses per 100,000 people) and was associated with the highest number of hospitalizations (2,290) and deaths (29), with no significant change in the incidence of Salmonella infection occurring since the beginning of surveillance during 1996-1998. The overall incidence of infection with six key pathogens in 2010 was 23 percent lower than in 1996-1998, and pathogen-specific incidence was lower for Campylobacter, Listeria, STEC O157, Shigella, and Yersinia infection but higher for Vibrio infection. Compared with 2006-2008 data, the incidence for STEC O157 and Shigella infection was lower but incidence of Vibrio infection was higher in 2010.
"Salmonella infection should be targeted because it has not declined significantly in more than a decade, and other data indicate that it is one of the most common foodborne infections, resulting in an estimated $365 million in direct medical costs annually. The prevention measures that reduced STEC O157 infection need to be applied more broadly to reduce Salmonella and other infections," the authors write.