ATLANTA, June 11 (UPI) -- There were 1,270 reported U.S. food borne disease outbreaks in 2006, resulting in 27,634 illnesses and 11 deaths, federal officials said.
The report published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report said that among the confirmed outbreaks, 54 percent were caused by norovirus and 18 percent were caused by Salmonella.
Food borne outbreaks of norovirus occur most often when infected food handlers do not wash their hands well after using the toilet. Food borne outbreaks of Salmonella occur most often when foods that have been contaminated with animal feces are eaten raw or insufficiently cooked, the report said.
Analysis was done on data from the 243 outbreaks in which a single food commodity was identified and reported to CDC. Twenty-one percent of all outbreak-associated cases involved poultry, 17 percent involved leafy vegetables and 16 percent involved fruits or nuts.
Dr. Patricia M. Griffin of the CDC, cautions that while the report is useful, only a small proportion of food borne illnesses occur as part of recognized outbreaks. Moreover, some outbreaks are not detected, investigated, or reported because many states lack the resources to perform the work.
The report is available online at www.cdc.gov/mmwr.