Data: US Campylobacter cases climb 14%

by Jeff Gelski
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ATLANTA – Incidence of infection from Campylobacter in the United States increased 14 percent in 2012 when compared with 2006-08, according to an annual report from the Foodborne Disease Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) released April 18 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“After substantial declines in the early years of FoodNet surveillance, the incidence of Campylobacter infection has increased to its highest level since 2000,” the CDC said in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

According to the CDC, Campylobacter is associated with eating raw or undercooked poultry, raw milk dairy products, contaminated produce and contaminated water. It also may be acquired through contact with infected animals. Campylobacter usually causes diarrhea, stomach pain and fever that resolve in about a week, according to the CDC.

Campylobacter infection incidences in the United States were 14.3 per 100,000 people in 2012. The 6,793 total incidences in 2012 included 1,044 hospitalizations and 6 deaths. Campylobacter infections are more common in the western United States and among children under age 5.

The number of Campylobacter cases apparently is rising in Europe, too. In 2011 a total of 220,209 Campylobacter cases were reported in humans, which marked a 2 percent increase from 2010, according to an annual report released April 9, 2013, and produced jointly by the European Food Safety Authority and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Reported cases of campylobacteriosis, the most reported zoonotic disease in humans in the European Union, continually have increased in number in Europe over the past five years, according to the European report.

In the United States, incidence of infection was significantly lower for Campylobacter in 2012 when compared with 1996-98. According to the CDC, declines in US campylobacteriosis during 1996-2001 might have been related to measures that meat and poultry processors implemented to comply with the pathogen reduction and hazard analysis and critical control points (HAACP) systems regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in the late 1990s.

The FoodNet data released April 18 also covered laboratory-confirmed infections caused by Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, Listeria, Salmonella, Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) 0157 and non-0157, Shigella, Vibrio and Yersinia.  FoodNet is a collaboration involving the Atlanta-based CDC, the FSIS, the US Food and Drug Administration and 10 state health departments.

The overall incidence of infection in 2012 was unchanged from 2006-08. A total of 19,531 infections, 4,563 hospitalizations and 68 deaths associated with foodborne diseases were reported in 2012.

Besides Campylobacter, the incidence of infections caused by Vibrio also increased. The incidences were 0.41 per 100,000 people in 2012, which was up 43 percent from 2006-08. The total of 193 Vibrio incidences included 55 hospitalizations and 6 deaths. Foodborne Vibrio infections most often are associated with eating raw shellfish.

“Although a significant increase was observed in reported Vibrio infections, the number of such infections remains low,” the CDC said.

The highest number of incidents in 2012 involved Salmonella, at 16.42 per 100,000 people. The total of 7,800 Salmonella incidences included 2,284 hospitalizations and 33 deaths. The incidence of infections with Salmonella serotypes in 2012, compared with 2006-08, was 19 percent lower for Typhimurium, 23 percent higher for Newport and unchanged for Enteritidis.

Compared with 1996-98, in 2012 incidence of infection was significantly lower for not only Campylobacter but also Listeria, Shigella, STEC 0157 and Yersinia.

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