Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks

During 1998–2008, CDC received reports of 13,405 foodborne disease outbreaks, which resulted in 273,120 reported cases of illness, 9,109 hospitalizations, and 200 deaths.

 Of the 7,998 outbreaks with a known etiology, 3,633 (45%) were caused by viruses, 3,613 (45%) were caused by bacteria, 685 (5%) were caused by chemical and toxic agents, and 67 (1%) were caused by parasites. Among the 7,724 (58%) outbreaks with an implicated food or contaminated ingredient reported, 3,264 (42%) could be assigned to one of 17 predefined commodity categories: fish, crustaceans, mollusks, dairy, eggs, beef, game, pork, poultry, grains/beans, oils/sugars, fruits/nuts, fungi, leafy vegetables, root vegetables, sprouts, and vegetables from a vine or stalk. The commodities implicated most commonly were poultry (18.9%; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 17.4–20.3) and fish (18.6%; CI = 17.2–20), followed by beef (11.9%; CI = 10.8–13.1). The pathogen-commodity pairs most commonly responsible for outbreaks were scombroid toxin/ histamine and fish (317 outbreaks), ciguatoxin and fish (172 outbreaks), Salmonella and poultry (145 outbreaks), and norovirus and leafy vegetables (141 outbreaks). The pathogen-commodity pairs most commonly responsible for outbreak-related illnesses were norovirus and leafy vegetables (4,011 illnesses), Clostridium perfringens and poultry (3,452 illnesses), Salmonella and vine-stalk vegetables (3,216 illnesses), and Clostridium perfringens and beef (2,963 illnesses). Compared with the first 2 years of the study (1998–1999), the percentage of outbreaks associated with leafy vegetables and dairy increased substantially during 2006–2008, while the percentage of outbreaks associated with eggs decreased.

Source: CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report / June 28th, 2013.