While we heard a lot of reports of foodborne diseases in 2018, that doesn’t mean we have more outbreaks of disease than usual. In fact, the number of outbreaks in the United States may be roughly the same each year, said Benjamin Chapman, an associate professor and food safety expert at North Carolina State University.
But crucially, health officials are finding these outbreaks more and more well, Chapman said, leading to an increase in outbreaks in recent years. “Science is getting better, the public health resources are getting better, and we’re just looking for something better,” Chapman told Ant Medic.
“Make your sick food in the first 7 kinds of bacteria.”
Series of outbreaks Perhaps the most notable outbreak in 2018 years involved long-leaf lettuce contaminated with Escherichia coli strains known as Escherichia coli O157:h7. The outbreak, which began in March and ended in June, killed 5 people and sickened more than 200 people in 36 states, making it the largest E. coli outbreak in the United States in more than 10 years, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Contaminated lettuce was tied to the Yuma growing area of Arizona, State, and at one point health officials advised consumers to avoid all long-leaf lettuce from the area.
Last November, when officials again warned people not to eat lettuce because of an E. coli outbreak, consumers were familiar, this time linked to lettuce in northern and central California.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are also two large-scale outbreaks of parasitic cyclosporine, linked to McDonald’s salad and Del Monte Vegetable trays, leading to more than 760 cases of disease.
In addition to agricultural products, outbreaks have been linked to highly processed foods, including salmonella outbreaks associated with Kellogg’s Honey smacks grains, which have sickened 135 of people in 36 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While these outbreaks make headlines, we don’t necessarily hear hundreds of of outbreaks, which are investigated and reported every year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an outbreak is a situation in which two or more people get the same disease from the same contaminated food or ingredient. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national outbreak Reporting system, the system summarizes data from foodborne disease reports in the United States, with about 4,000 outbreaks of foodborne diseases each year from 2012 to 2016, and data available in recent years.
This is related to only about 1,000 outbreaks reported in 2008. Chapman said it “looked like a big jump” when it broke out. But he said the increase was actually due to health officials doing better at “junction points” to find more foodborne disease outbreaks.
In other words, outbreaks are happening, but health officials are not as good as testing them.
Improved detection One of the technological advances leading to improved detection of foodborne disease outbreaks is the ability to sequence the entire genome of microorganisms that cause disease.
This means that if caused by genetically identical microorganisms, two seemingly sporadic cases in different parts of the country can be linked. Dr Robert Tox, director of the CDC, said: “It is the sequencing of these strains that gives us the level of confidence here, a case where the situation there has to be something in common.
“The Department of Food, Water transmission and environmental diseases spoke to Ant medic at a conference on infectious diseases held in October.
But, in addition to technological advances, the health sector’s ability to investigate outbreaks has improved, Tauxe said. In fact, in recent years, state and local health departments have increased resources in the form of money and expertise to collect data and investigate outbreaks of foodborne diseases, Chapman said. Specific diseases that are occurring in the country are being discussed on a daily basis between state and federal teams to determine whether they are linked to the outbreak.
It’s “the world behind Food safety,” Chapman said.
Once officials find that people are being infected with the same microorganism, they must contact patients and conduct detailed interviews to determine whether they have all eaten similar foods, or whether there are other common exposures.
Unfortunately, better testing of outbreaks means that the total number of reported outbreaks is likely not to fall any time soon.