The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) annual Foodborne Disease Outbreak Report, published in September 2019, has provided data on the 841 foodborne disease outbreaks that occurred throughout the US in 2017, resulting in 14,481 illnesses, 827 hospitalisations, 20 deaths, and 14 food recalls. The statistics provided some eye-opening information, particularly with regards to Salmonella, the Norovirus, and restaurants.
Although Listeria was a key focus of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “swabathons” in 2017, and there was a major E. coli leafy greens outbreak, the two most frequently reported confirmed causes of outbreaks and associated illnesses that year were actually Norovirus and Salmonella.
Norovirus was the cause of:
- 140 outbreaks, 35 percent of confirmed single-pathogen outbreaks
- 4,092 illnesses, 46 percent of confirmed single-pathogen illnesses
- 40 hospitalisations, six percent of confirmed single-pathogen, outbreak-related hospitalisations
- Four deaths, 20 percent of outbreak-related deaths.
Salmonella was the cause of:
- 113 outbreaks, 29 percent of confirmed single-pathogen outbreaks
- 3,007 illnesses, 34 percent of confirmed single-pathogen illnesses
- 472 hospitalisations, 66 percent of confirmed single-pathogen, outbreak-related hospitalisations
- Eight deaths, 40 percent of outbreak-related deaths.