Like it or not, congratulations are in order for Campylobacter. This ubiquitous organism captured first place honors on the CDC’s list of organisms responsible for foodborne illness in the U.S. in 2016, with 8,547 cases reported on CDC’s Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet).
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In addition to this overall number of reported campylobacteriosis cases, Campylobacter ranks among foodborne pathogens as the third leading cause of hospitalizations (with 1,082 out of 5,512 hospitalizations, 19 percent of hospitalizations) and the fifth leading cause of death (10 deaths attributed to Campylobacter out of 98 deaths attributed to all foodborne pathogens) in the U.S. in 2016, according to FoodNet’s April 21, 2017 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
To track foodborne infections and identify potential sources of infection, the CDC’s FoodNet program collects data from sites in 10 states that test samples for foodborne pathogens. Together, FoodNet sites cover approximately 15 percent of the U.S. population.
The aforementioned FoodNet report shows that Campylobacter and Salmonella (8,172 cases) were the leading cause of foodborne infections in 2016, followed by Shigella (2,913 cases), Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (1,845 cases), and Cryptosporidium (1,816 cases). (Yersinia, Vibrio, Listeria, and Cyclospora were also reported, but with about 300 or fewer cases each.)
Of note, this is the first time the report includes in the total number of infections in FoodNet sites those foodborne bacterial infections diagnosed only by rapid diagnostic tests, which are described collectively as culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDTs).
Previously, the report counted foodborne bacterial infections confirmed only by traditional culture-based methods in the total numbers.
About Linda L. Leake, MS
Linda L. Leake, doing business as Food Safety Ink, is a food safety consultant, registered SQF contract auditor, and award-winning freelance journalist based in Wilmington, N.C. Specializing in agriculture, food, food safety, and travel, her articles have appeared in some 89 print and online publications. Along with garnering awards for her articles and photographs, she holds the prestigious Master Writer status with American Agricultural Editors’ Association. Majoring in Dairy Science, she completed a BS in Agriculture at the University of Wisconsin and an MS in Food Safety at Michigan State University. She’s an active member of IAFP, Toxicologists Without Borders, Inc., and the National Dairy Shrine. She’s currently enrolled in the International Development Doctoral Program at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast. Reach her at Llleake@aol.com.