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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET


Jonathan Serrie

Atlanta, GA


Foodborne Illness Affects 1 in 6 Americans

December 15, 2010 - 1:37 PM | by: Jonathan Serrie

One in six Americans gets sick from foodborne diseases each year, according to new research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of the estimated 48 million people who become ill, 128 thousand are hospitalized and 3 thousand die, according to data published today in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“These illnesses are associated with billions in health care costs,” said Chris Braden, MD, acting director of the CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases. “They also have a substantial human cost in severe illnesses and, in some cases, long-term health effects that linger after the initial illness subsides.”

The CDC’s new estimates are lower than those in the federal agency’s last comprehensive report on foodborne illness in 1999. However, federal health officials said the difference is largely due to improved methods of tracking foodborne illness, as well as ruling out pathogens that are not spread by food.

While the report does not indicate trends, it does provide a more accurate picture of the prevalence of foodborne illness in the US, according to the CDC.

“For many of these diseases, we know what interventions work to prevent them,” Braden said. “We need to do more to lower the impact of these diseases in the United States.”

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