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Food Poison Journal Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Litigation: Surveillance and Analysis

CDC Report: 1,527 Food Poisoning Outbreaks in 2009-2010

The CDC reported yesterday in its aptly named, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, on the Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks — United States, 2009–2010.  Here is the overview:

Outbreaks

  • During 2009–2010, a total of 1,527 foodborne disease outbreaks (675 in 2009 and 852 in 2010) were reported, resulting in 29,444 cases of illness, 1,184 hospitalizations, and 23 deaths.
  • Among the 790 outbreaks with a single laboratory-confirmed etiologic agent, norovirus was the most commonly reported, accounting for 42% of outbreaks.
  • Salmonella was second, accounting for 30% of outbreaks. Among the 225 confirmed Salmonella outbreaks with a serotype reported, Enteritidis was the most common serotype with 76 outbreaks (34%).
  • Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) caused 58 confirmed, single-etiology outbreaks, of which 53 were caused by serogroup O157.
  • Among the 299 outbreaks attributed to a food composed of ingredients from one of 17 predefined, mutually exclusive food commodities, those most often implicated were beef (13%), dairy (12%), fish (12%), and poultry (11%).
  • The commodities in the 299 outbreaks associated with the most illnesses were eggs (27% of illnesses), beef (11%), and poultry (10%).

Illnesses

  • Of the 29,444 outbreak-related illnesses, 1,184 (4%) resulted in hospitalization. Salmonella caused the most outbreak-related hospitalizations with 583 (49%), followed by STEC with 190 (16%) and norovirus with 109 (9%). Outbreaks caused by Listeria resulted in the highest proportion of persons hospitalized (82%), followed by Clostridium botulinum (67%), and paralytic shellfish poisoning outbreaks (67%). Among the 23 deaths, 22 were attributed to bacterial etiologies (nine to Listeria monocytogenes, five Salmonella, four STEC O157, three Clostridium perfringens, and one Shigella), and one to norovirus.

Outbreak Location

  • Among the 766 outbreaks with a known single setting where food was consumed, 48% were caused by food consumed in a restaurant or deli, and 21% were caused by food consumed in a private home. Forty-three outbreaks resulted in product recalls.

Recalls

  • Forty-three outbreaks resulted in product recalls. The recalled foods were ground beef (eight outbreaks), sprouts (seven), cheese and cheese-containing products (six), oysters (five), raw milk (three), eggs (three), and salami (ground pepper), bison, sirloin steak, unpasteurized apple cider, cookie dough, frozen mamey fruit, hazelnuts, Romaine lettuce, ground turkey burger, tuna steak, and a frozen entrée (one each).

Read the full report.  And, thanks to the good work of the following:

L. Hannah Gould, PhD, Elisabeth A. Mungai, MS, MPH, Shacara D. Johnson, MSPH, LaTonia C. Richardson, MS, Ian T. Williams, PhD, Patricia M. Griffin, MD, Dana J. Cole, DVM, PhD, Div of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases; Aron J. Hall, DVM, Div of Viral Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, CDC.