Salmonella infections have not decreased during the past 15 years and have instead increased by 10% in recent years, according to a new Vital Signs report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, during the same time period, illnesses from the serious Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157 have been cut nearly in half and the overall rates of six foodborne infections have been reduced by 23%, the report said.
The Vital Signs report summarizes 2010 data from CDC's Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, which serves as America's report card for food safety by tracking whether nine of the most common infections transmitted through foods are increasing or decreasing.
"Although foodborne infections have decreased by nearly one-fourth in the past 15 years, more than 1 million people in this country become ill from Salmonella each year, and Salmonella accounts for about half of the hospitalizations and deaths among the nine foodborne illnesses CDC tracks through FoodNet," said CDC Director, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden.
A press release from the CDC pointed out, "Salmonella, which is responsible for an estimated $365 million in direct medical costs each year in the United States, can be challenging to address because so many different foods like meats, eggs, produce, and even processed foods, can become contaminated with it and finding the source can be challenging because it can be introduced in many different ways."
"Thanks to our prevention based approach to food safety, as well as industry and consumer efforts, we have substantially reduced E. coli O157 illnesses," said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety, Dr. Elisabeth Hagen. "This report demonstrates that we've made great progress."
CDC Vital Signs is a report that appears on the first Tuesday of the month as part of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.