ATLANTA, Georgia, Aug. 13 (UPI) — It’s estimated 76 million people a year suffer from food borne illness, most often caused by meat and leafy vegetables, U.S. health officials said.
Dr. Christopher Braden, a medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, said state investigators reported 1,097 food borne disease outbreaks with 21,244 food borne illnesses and 18 deaths for 2007. The vast majority of food borne illness go unreported, but after eating contaminated food, people can develop anything from a short, mild illness, often mistakenly referred to as “food poisoning,” to a life-threatening disease.
Despite health officials’ investigative efforts, often the cause of an outbreak cannot be determined or confirmed.
However, for the confirmed illnesses, food borne disease outbreaks due to norovirus occur most often when infected food handlers do not wash their hands well after using the toilet, while outbreaks due to salmonella occur most often when foods are contaminated with animal feces.
The largest number of illnesses — 691 — came from poultry, while 667 illnesses were caused by beef and 590 were caused by leafy vegetables.
The full report is available online at www.cdc.gov/mmwr.
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