According to a report recently published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most-reported bacteria causing foodborne illnesses in America last year were Campylobacter and Salmonella.
Data was gathered through the CDC’s Foodborne Disease Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), which tracks trends for foodborne infections and provides policy recommendations for food safety efforts.
In total, FoodNet reported 24,029 foodborne infections, 5,512 hospitalizations, and 98 deaths in 2016. The most-common infections included Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, Cryptosporidium, Yersinia, Vibrio, Listeria and Cyclospora.
Often linked to beef and poultry products, Salmonella infections decreased by approximately 18 percent compared to the previous three years. The CDC said the decrease may be due to regulatory action to reduce contamination in poultry and vaccinating chicken flocks.
While instances of Salmonella decreased, the reported number of Yersinia, Cryptosporidium, and Shiga toxin-producing E.coli instances increased in 2016. The CDC said the increase may be due to the availability of rapid diagnostic tests that make infections easier to diagnose, rather than an actual increase in the illnesses themselves.
The CDC attributed its data to the increasing popularity of culture-independent diagnostic tests (CDITs), which are faster than traditional testing methods. While these tests are faster, they cannot determine if an infection is linked to an outbreak or if its antibiotic-resistant.
“We need foodborne-illness trend data to monitor progress toward making our food supply safer,” Robert Tauxe, director of the CDC’s Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases Division, said. “It’s important that laboratories continue to do follow-up cultures on CIDT-positive patients so public health officials can get the information needed to protect people from foodborne illness.”