This report summarises the incidence of diseases potentially transmitted by food in Australia, and details outbreaks associated with food that occurred during 2013–2015.
OzFoodNet sites reported an increasing number of notifications of 12 diseases or conditions that may be transmitted by food (botulism; campylobacteriosis; cholera; hepatitis A; hepatitis E; haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS); listeriosis; Salmonella Paratyphi (paratyphoid fever) infection; salmonellosis; shigellosis; Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli(STEC) infection; and Salmonella Typhi (typhoid fever) infection), with a total of 28,676 notifications received in 2013; 37,958 in 2014; and 41,226 in 2015.
The most commonly-notified conditions were campylobacteriosis (a mean of 19,061 notifications per year over 2013–2015) and salmonellosis (a mean of 15,336 notifications per year over 2013–2015). Over these three years, OzFoodNet sites also reported 512 outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness caused by foodborne, animal-to-person or waterborne disease, affecting 7,877 people, and resulting in 735 hospitalisations and 18 associated deaths.
The majority of outbreaks (452/512; 88%) were due to foodborne or suspected foodborne transmission. The remaining 12% of outbreaks were due to waterborne or suspected waterborne transmission (57 outbreaks) and animal-to-human trans-mission (three outbreaks). Foodborne and suspected foodborne outbreaks affected 7,361 people, resulting in 705 hospitalisations and 18 deaths.
Salmonella was the most common aetiological agent identified in foodborne outbreaks (239/452; 53%), and restaurants were the most frequently-reported food preparation setting (211/452; 47%). There were 213 foodborne outbreaks (47%) attributed to a single food commodity during 2013–2015, with 58% (124/213) associated with the consumption of eggs and egg-based dishes.