The burden of disease from foodborne pathogens in the Netherlands in 2019
Every year, RIVM investigates how many people become sick or die from 14 pathogens that can infect the stomach or intestines. This is termed the ‘burden of disease’ and it is expressed in DALYs (Disability Adjusted Life Years), an international measure for the number of healthy years of life that are lost to disease or because of people dying earlier than ‘normal’.
Not only can the 14 pathogens in question enter the human body via food (approximately 40% of infections), but also via the environment (for example, via surface water), animals and other people. The percentages of routes by which humans become infected vary depending on the pathogen concerned. The total number of DALYs these 14 pathogens caused in 2019 was the same as in 2018 and 2017 (11,000 DALYs). The burden of disease via food in 2019 was estimated at 4,200 and was slightly lower than in 2018 (4,300 DALYs).
The total cost of this burden of disease was estimated at EUR 423 million, which is lower than in 2018 (EUR 426 million). This cost of illness comprises direct medical costs and costs for patients and/or their fa milies, including travel expenses, and costs for other sectors, such as those due to absenteeism.
The cost of the burden of disease caused by infected food has risen slightly: EUR 174 million in 2019 compared to EUR 171 million in 2018. The difference in DALYs and costs are mainly due to the fact that the number of infections caused by some of the pathogens has changed. This is particularly the case with norovirus, rotavirus, and Cryptosporidium and Campylobacter spp.
RIVM was commissioned to carry out this study by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS). The results will help to provide a better understanding of the burden of disease and exposure routes of foodborne infections among the Dutch population. They also show the developments over the years. Keywords: food-related disease, burden of disease, DALY, costs.