Fish and chicken associated with most outbreaks

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Fish and chicken were associated with the most outbreaks. Picture: ©iStock/shotsstudio
Fish and chicken were associated with the most outbreaks. Picture: ©iStock/shotsstudio

Related tags: Foodborne disease outbreaks, Escherichia coli

Fish and chicken remain the two categories associated with the most foodborne outbreaks, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Single categories associated with outbreaks were fish (34 outbreaks), chicken (22), pork (19) and dairy (18).

Pasteurization information for 14 dairy outbreaks showed 13 involved unpasteurized products.

For 2014, the categories were fish (43 outbreaks), chicken (23) and dairy (19).

A total of 902 foodborne disease outbreaks were reported in 2015​, resulting in 15,202 illnesses, 950 hospitalizations, 15 deaths and 20 recalls.

A food was reported for 360 (40%) outbreaks and a single etiologic agent was confirmed in 443 outbreaks.

Data includes outbreaks reported by October 20, 2016, in which first illness onset was in 2015.

The year before there were 864 outbreaks, 13,246 illnesses, 712 hospitalizations, 21 deaths and 21 recalls.

CDC said public health officials, regulatory agencies and industry can use the data to create control strategies that target specific pathogens and foods.

Germ-food pairs and single categories

Confirmed germ-food pairs responsible for the most outbreak illnesses were Salmonella in seeded vegetables (1,048 illnesses), Salmonella in pork (615) and Salmonella in vegetable row crops (263).

Confirmed pairs responsible for the most outbreaks were ciguatoxin in fish (20 outbreaks), Scombroid toxin (histamine poisoning) in fish (10) and Salmonella in chicken (nine).

Single food categories associated with the most outbreak illnesses were seeded vegetables, such as cucumbers or tomatoes (1,121 illnesses), pork (924), vegetable row crops, such as leafy vegetables (383) and chicken (333).

Recalls occurred in 20 outbreaks with chicken, pork and raw tuna topping the table with two each.

Bacteria caused the most outbreaks (238), followed by viruses (168), chemicals (33) and parasites (four).

Etiologic agent

Norovirus accounted for 164 (37%) outbreaks and 3,893 (39%) illnesses.

Salmonella made up 149 outbreaks and 3,944 illnesses. Among the 146 confirmed outbreaks with a serotype reported, Enteritidis was the most common (51 outbreaks), followed by I 4,[5],12:i:- (15) Newport (eight) and Braenderup (seven).

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) caused 27 confirmed, single-etiology outbreaks, of which 17 were caused by serogroup O157, three by O26, two by O103 and one each by O45, O111, O121, O145 and multiple serogroups.

Salmonella was behind 573 outbreak-related hospitalizations, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli responsible for 106 and Shigella for 53.

Salmonella also caused the most such deaths (nine), ahead of Clostridium botulinum (two) and one each from Clostridium perfringens, Listeria monocytogenes, norovirus and Vibrio vulnificus.

Data comes from CDC’s Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System (FDOSS).

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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