CDC Report Shows Progress and Gaps in Reducing Foodborne Illnesses
Reducing foodborne illness depends in part on identifying which illnesses are decreasing and which are increasing. Yet recent changes in the use of tests that diagnose foodborne illness pose challenges to monitoring illnesses and assessing trends, according to a report published today in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Rapid diagnostic tests help doctors diagnose infections quicker than traditional culture methods, which require growing bacteria to determine what is causing illness. These culture-independent tests are revealing many infections that likely would not have been diagnosed in the past because of limited testing. But without a bacterial culture, public health officials cannot get the detailed information needed to detect and prevent foodborne disease outbreaks, monitor disease trends, and identify antibiotic resistance.
The MMWR article includes the most recent data from CDC’s Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, or FoodNet, which collects data on 15 percent of the U.S. population. It summarizes preliminary 2017 data on nine germs spread commonly through food. In 2017, FoodNet reported 24,484 infections, 5,677 hospitalizations, and 122 deaths. The most frequent causes of infection in 2017 were Salmonella and Campylobac