A new study from the Centers for Disease Control says that even while there have been inroads against the spread of some food-borne illnesses, one out of every six Americans will catch some type of food-borne illness each year.
In addition to the many millions of us who will spend a day or two attached to the toilet after ingesting tainted food, around 128,000 Americans are hospitalized each year and approximately 3,000 people will die.
On the bright side, these numbers are down from 1999, the last time the CDC conducted such a massive study on food-borne illnesses. That study concluded that one in four Americans caught something from icky edibles, 325,000 were hospitalized, and 5,000 people died.
However, experts caution that some of the improvement in these statistics is actually a result of improved research and survey methods by the CDC.
While outbreaks of pathogens like E.Coli and listeria appear to have decreased, one bug that continues to be a pest to America’s collective digestive tract is salmonella. Varieties of salmonella accounted for 28% of deaths and about 35% of hospitalizations caused by known pathogens.
“The biology of salmonella is complex, and there are many sources and transmission routes that we don’t understand well,” a professor from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health tells WebMD. “I think that understanding and preventing salmonella should be the major focus of food safety activities for the next few years.”
As you probably recall, salmonella was responsible for the recent recall of hundreds of millions of eggs.