What is already known about this topic?
The incidence of infections transmitted commonly through food has remained largely unchanged for many years. Culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDTs) are increasingly used by clinical laboratories to detect enteric infections. CIDTs benefit public health surveillance by identifying illnesses caused by pathogens not captured routinely by previous laboratory methods.
What is added by this report?
Decreases in incidence of infection of Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157 and Salmonella serotypes Typhimurium and Heidelberg have been observed over the past 10 years. These declines parallel findings of decreased Salmonella contamination of poultry meat and decreased STEC O157 contamination of ground beef.
What are the implications for public health practice?
As use of CIDTs continues to increase, higher, more accurate incidence rates might be observed. However, without isolates, public health laboratories are unable to subtype pathogens, determine antimicrobial susceptibility, and detect outbreaks. Further prevention measures are needed to decrease the incidence of infection by pathogens tranmitted commonly through food.