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Some U.S. Foodborne Infections Drop 30-50 Percent

But more efforts needed against Salmonella and other foodborne enteric pathogens

WEDNESDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of many foodborne infections in the United States dropped 30 to 50 percent between the mid-1990s and 2005, but stepped-up efforts are needed to fight Salmonella and other pathogens, according to data reported online April 14 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Duc Vugia, M.D., of the California Department of Health Services, and colleagues report preliminary 2005 data from the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), the 10-year-old U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program that gathers information on foodborne pathogens from 10 states.

From 1996-1998 to 2005, the estimated incidence of Yersinia dropped 49 percent, Shigella fell 43 percent, Listeria declined 32 percent, Campylobacter dropped 30 percent and Salmonella fell 9 percent. Despite the general decrease in Salmonella cases, S. Typhimurium was the only one of the five most common Salmonella serotypes to fall significantly. Both S. Enteritidis and S. Heidelberg increased 25 percent, and S. Javiana increased 82 percent.

More efforts are needed against animal and plant pathogens, the authors write. "Consumers can reduce their risk of foodborne illness by following safe food-handling recommendations and by avoiding consumption of unpasteurized milk and unpasteurized milk products, raw or undercooked oysters, raw or undercooked eggs, raw or undercooked ground beef, and undercooked poultry."

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