Food-borne agents cause an estimated 48 million illnesses annually in the United States, including 9.4 million illnesses from known pathogens, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System collects data on food-borne disease that has been confirmed by a laboratory. Data from 2008 is the most recent available.
The 1,034 confirmed outbreaks were 10 percent lower than the annual average reported at 1,151 for 2003 to 2007, and the number of outbreak-related illnesses was 5 percent lower -- 23,152 versus 24,400.
An average of 24 outbreaks was reported from each state or territory, the report says.
Salmonella was the most common cause of outbreak-related hospitalizations, causing 62 percent of hospitalizations reported, followed by Shiga toxin -- producing E.coli at 17 percent and norovirus at 7percent. Outbreaks caused by Clostridium botulinum resulted in the highest proportion of persons hospitalized at 90 percent, followed by Listeria outbreaks at 76 percent.
The food most commonly implicated were poultry with 32 outbreaks, beef with 31 outbreaks and 30 of fin fish. The food associated with the most outbreak-related illnesses was fruits or nuts with 1,755 illnesses, 1,622 vine-stalk vegetables and 962 of beef.
The findings are published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
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