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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
October 6, 2010

Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks—United States, 2007

JAMA. 2010;304(13):1433-1435. doi:

MMWR. 2010;59:973-979

1 figure, 2 tables omitted

Foodborne agents cause an estimated 76 million illnesses annually in the United States.1 Outbreak surveillance provides insights into the causes of foodborne illness, types of implicated foods, and settings of foodborne infections that can be used in food safety strategies to prevent and control foodborne disease. CDC collects data on foodborne disease outbreaks submitted from all states and territories. This report summarizes epidemiologic data for the 1,097 reported outbreaks occurring during 2007 (the most recent finalized data), which resulted in 21,244 cases of foodborne illness and 18 deaths. Among the 497 foodborne outbreaks with a laboratory-confirmed single etiologic agent reported, norovirus was the most common cause, followed by Salmonella. Among the 18 reported deaths, 11 were attributed to bacterial etiologies (five Salmonella, three Listeria monocytogenes, two Escherichia coli O157:H7, and one Clostridium botulinum), two to viral etiologies (norovirus), and one to a chemical (mushroom toxin). Four deaths occurred in outbreaks with unknown etiologies. Among the 235 outbreaks attributed to a single food commodity, poultry (17%), beef (16%), and leafy vegetables (14%) were most often the cause of illness. Public health, regulatory, and agricultural professionals can use this information when creating targeted control strategies and to support efforts to promote safe food preparation practices among food employees and the public.

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