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No Change in U.S. Rates of Foodborne Illness

Prevention efforts have stalled and new strategy is required to reduce incidence

THURSDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence rates for various foodborne illnesses have stabilized after a period of decline, according to a report published in the April 11 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Duc Vugia, M.D., of the California Department of Public Health, and colleagues analyzed data from the CDC's Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network -- FoodNet -- which gathers data from 10 states covering approximately 45 million people or 15 percent of the U.S. population.

There have been reductions in the rates of foodborne illnesses since surveillance through FoodNet began in 1996, but none since 2004. The most common causes of foodborne illness are Campylobacter, Listeria, Salmonella, Shigella, Escherichia coli O157, Vibrio and Yersinia, and the estimated incidence in 2007 was similar to that of 2004 to 2006. During the same period, the incidence of Cryptosporidium-related illness increased.

"Progress toward the targets for Healthy People 2010 national health objectives and targets regarding the incidence of foodborne infections occurred before 2004; however, none of the targets were reached in 2007. Salmonella incidence was the furthest from its national health target, suggesting that reaching this target will require new approaches," the authors write.

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