According to the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), there were a total of 19,542 infections, 4,445 hospitalizations and 71 deaths reported in 2014. Some types of infections declined, some increased, and some stayed the same. FoodNet is a collaboration between CDC, 10 state health departments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration that tracks incidents of Campylobacter, Listeria, Salmonella, Shigella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O157, STEC non-O157, Vibrio, Yersinia, Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora.
The number of laboratory-confirmed illnesses falls far below the actual number of people sickened by foodborne pathogens each year. CDC estimates that 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths are linked to foodborne illness annually.
Looking at the 2014 data, Salmonella was the most frequent cause of infection, accounting for 38 percent of them. Campylobacter was second with 33 percent, and E. coli caused 6 percent.
The good news is that the frequency of E. coli O157 infections have decreased, compared with both the baseline years of 2006-2008 and the previous three years.
CDC highlighted that the number of infections from the second most common strain of Salmonella — Typhimurium — continues to decrease, while there have been statistically significant increases over the baseline in two other serotypes. Javiana, the fourth most common serotype, was 131 percent higher, and Salmonella Infantis, the sixth most common, increased 160 percent compared to the baseline and was also “significantly higher” than in 2011-2013.
CDC also notes an increasing incidence of non-O157 STEC infections is attributable, in part, to an increase in the number of laboratories testing for Shiga toxin. The top non-O157 serogroups isolated from patients were O26, O103 and O111.
And compared with 2006-2008, FoodNet’s 2014 data showed a 52-percent increase for Vibrio and 13-percent increase for Campylobacter, trends also observed in 2013. Last year, it was noted that although Vibrio accounted for only 1.3 percent of the reported infections in 2013, its incidence increased 32 percent from 2010-2012.