ATLANTA – According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the threat posed by foodborne illnesses in the US “continues to be a substantial burden,” despite ongoing food safety measures.

Information in the CDC’s latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), consisting of 10 US-based health departments it utilizes to monitor lab-confirmed cases of pathogens commonly linked to foodborne illnesses, compared infections, hospitalizations and deaths. The latest report compared 2017 incidences (in which FoodNet reported approximately 24,500 infections, 5,700 hospitalizations and 122 deaths) to those occurring between 2014 and 2016. The results indicated higher incidences of infection with Listeria, Campylobacter, non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), Yersinia, Vibrio and Cyclospora in 2017 versus the number of cases compared to 2014-2016.

The report stated that the higher rates could be attributed to “increased use and sensitivity of culture-independent diagnostic tests. Looking back to 2006-2008 however, the Salmonella serotypes Typhimurium and Heidelberg incidences decreased. The CDC indicated that newer regulatory requirements mandating more and better testing of poultry products for Salmonella could have played a role in the decreases of those rates. Decreases in STEC O157 infections in 2017 and Salmonella serotypes “provide supportive evidence that targeted control measures are effective,” said the report. “The marked increases in infections caused by some Salmonella serotypes provide an opportunity to investigate food and nonfood sources of infection and to design specific interventions.

According to the report, during 2017:

  • The incidence of non-O157 STEC significantly increased (25 percent) compared with 2014-2016; incidence of STEC O157 did not change. Compared with 2006-2008, the incidence of STEC O157 was significantly lower (by 35 percent).
  • Among 6,373 fully serotyped Salmonella isolates, the five most common were Enteritidis (incidence of 2.6 per 100,000), Typhimurium (1.4 per 100,000), Newport (1.3 per 100,000) and Javiana (1.1 per 1,000).
  • Among the 13 most common serotypes, the incidence for Heidelberg was 65 percent lower than during 2006-2008 and 38 percent lower than during 2014-2016. It was also lower for Typhimurium for both periods (42 percent and 14 percent, respectively).
More charts and graphs from the report are available.