1 in 6 Americans sickened by food each year

Dec 15, 2010

About one in six Americans, or 48 million people, get sick from tainted food each year, according to new figures that US officials said Wednesday provide the best data yet on foodborne pathogens.

"We've made progress in better understanding the burden of foodborne illness and unfortunately, far too many people continue to get sick from the they eat," Thomas Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which released the figures.

"These estimates provide valuable information to help CDC and its partners set priorities and further reduce illnesses from food," he said.

Each year, according to the new data methods -- CDC's first move to estimate illness caused specifically by food eaten in the -- some 128,000 people are hospitalized from foodborne disease, and 3,000 people die from the illnesses, said a report published in the journal Emerging .

The last attempt at comprehensive estimates were made in 1999, and the report Wednesday found much lower figures of sickness largely due to improved data gathering methods.

But worryingly for health authorities, the CDC's estimates found that only 9.4 million of the 48 million annual illnesses were due to known foodborne pathogens -- about 80 percent of the illnesses "result from unspecified agents."

This category includes "known agents without enough data to make specific estimates, agents not yet recognized as causing foodborne illness, and agents not yet discovered," said the CDC in a statement.

was the leading cause of estimated hospitalizations and deaths, said the CDC, with it responsible for some 28 percent of the deaths and 35 percent of hospitalizations.

Explore further: Leprosy: Myanmar struggles with ancient scourge

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New info shows swine flu still hardest on young

Oct 20, 2009

(AP) -- Swine flu continues to be most dangerous to kids and younger adults and is largely bypassing the elderly, according to the latest and most solid government health information.

CDC: US food poisoning cases held steady in 2008

Apr 09, 2009

(AP) -- Americans didn't suffer more food poisoning last year despite high-profile outbreaks involving peppers, peanut butter and other foods, according to a government report released Thursday.

Recommended for you

Leprosy: Myanmar struggles with ancient scourge

3 hours ago

High in the hills of Myanmar's war-torn borderlands, a clutch of new leprosy cases among communities virtually cut off from medical help is a sign that the country's battle with the ancient disease is far from over.

New analysis questions use of acute hemodialysis treatment

17 hours ago

A common approach to treating kidney failure by removing waste products from the blood did not improve survival chances for people who suddenly developed the condition, in an analysis led by experts at the University of Pittsburgh ...

WHO: West Africa Ebola death toll rises to 1,350 (Update)

18 hours ago

Riot police and soldiers acting on their president's orders used scrap wood and barbed wire to seal off 50,000 people inside their Liberian slum Wednesday, trying to contain the Ebola outbreak that has killed ...

User comments : 0