1,097 Foodborne Outbreaks Occurred in U.S. in 2007

Resulted in 21,244 illness cases and 18 deaths; norovirus and Salmonella most common causes
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- In 2007, nearly 1,100 foodborne outbreaks were reported in the United States, resulting in 21,244 cases of illness and 18 deaths, according to data published in the Aug. 13 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The report summarized epidemiologic data for the 1,097 reported outbreaks occurring during 2007. According to the report, 497 foodborne outbreaks were due to a single etiologic agent, with norovirus being the most common cause, followed by Salmonella. In an additional 12 outbreaks, more than one foodborne agent was the cause of illness.

Of the 18 reported deaths, the authors note that 11 were due to bacterial agents, two were tied to viral causes, one was linked to a chemical, and four occurred in outbreaks with unknown etiologies. Poultry (17 percent), beef (16 percent), and leafy vegetables (14 percent) were most commonly the cause of illness among the 235 outbreaks attributed to a single food commodity.

"Knowing more about what types of foods and foodborne agents have caused outbreaks can help guide public health and the food industry in developing measures to effectively control and prevent infections and help people stay healthy," Chris Braden, acting director of the CDC's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, said in a statement.

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