Journal Article
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
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Deaths associated with bacterial pathogens transmitted commonly through food: foodborne diseases active surveillance network (FoodNet), 1996-2005.

BACKGROUND: Foodborne diseases are typically mild and self-limiting but can cause severe illness and death. We describe the epidemiology of deaths associated with bacterial pathogens using data from the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) in the United States.

METHODS: We analyzed FoodNet data from 1996-2005 to determine the numbers and rates of deaths occurring within 7-days of laboratory-confirmation.

RESULTS: During 1996-2005, FoodNet ascertained 121,536 cases of laboratory-confirmed bacterial infections, including 552 (.5%) deaths, of which 215 (39%) and 168 (30%) were among persons infected with Salmonella and Listeria, respectively. The highest age-specific average annual population mortality rates were in older adults (≥65 years) for all pathogens except Shigella, for which the highest age-specific average annual population mortality rate was in children <5 years (.2/1 million population). Overall, most deaths (58%; 318) occurred in persons ≥65 years old. Listeria had the highest case fatality rate overall (16.9%), followed by Vibrio (5.8%), Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157 (0.8%), Salmonella (0.5%), Campylobacter (0.1%), and Shigella (0.1%).

CONCLUSIONS: Salmonella and Listeria remain the leading causes of death in the United States due to bacterial pathogens transmitted commonly through food. Most such deaths occurred in persons ≥65 years old, indicating that this age group could benefit from effective food safety interventions.

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