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Food Poisoning on the Rise, CDC Warns

Update Date: Apr 18, 2013 09:30 PM EDT
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Human infections from dangerous bacteria linked to food contamination rose last year, commonly caused by bacteria from organisms found in shellfish, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report released Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report was based on foodborne infections in only 10 states - about 15% of the American population. But it is seen as a good indicator of food poisoning trends.

According to the report, there was a rise in infections from the Vibrio bacterium, found in raw oysters and undercooked shellfish. Government officials said they couldn't isolate a reason for the surge.

"The U.S. food supply remains one of the safest in the world," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "However, some foodborne diseases continue to pose a challenge. We have the ability, through investments in emerging technologies, to identify outbreaks even more quickly and implement interventions even faster to protect people from the dangers posed by contaminated food."

Overall, food poisonings held fairly steady in recent years. There were no significant jumps in cases from most other food bugs, including salmonella and E. coli. But campylobacter rose, and last year accounted for more than a third of food poisoning illnesses in those states and about a 10th of the deaths.

Salmonella remains the pathogen most often linked to food-borne illness, accounting for 7,800 cases of the 19,531 food-borne illnesses reported in 2012 at the 10 monitoring stations that make up the CDC's surveillance network (a system which captures about 15% of the U.S. population).Campylobacter comes in a close second, followed distantly by Shigella, Cryptosporidium, Escherichia coli, Vibrio, Yersinia, Listeria and Cyclosporidium.

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