Causes

Foodborne illness usually arises from improper handling, preparation, or food storage. The most common causes of foodborne illness, hospitalizations and death are from bacteria or bacterial exotoxins, viruses and parasites.


Of the 9.4 million domestically-acquired foodborne illnesses caused by known pathogens 5.5 million (59%) were caused by viruses, 3.6 million (39%) were caused by bacteria, and 0.2 million (2%) by parasites.

The pathogens responsible for causing the most illnesses were: norovirus (5.5 million, 58%), Salmonella (1.0 million, 11%), Clostridium perfingens (1.0 million, 10%) and Campylobacter (0.8 million, 9%) 2


Of the 228,744 annual hospitalizations resulting from foodborne disease, nearly 56,000 were caused by contaminated food eaten in the United States. Of these hospitalizations, 64% were caused by bacteria, 27% by viruses, and 9% by parasites.

The leading causes of hospitalization were nontyphoidal Salmonella (35%), noroviurs (26%) Campylobacter (15%) and Toxoplasma gondii (8%) 2


Of the 2,612 annual deaths resulting from foodborne disease, 1,351 were caused by contaminated food eaten in the United States. Of these deaths, 64% were caused by bacteria, 25% by parasites, and 12% by viruses.

The leading cause of death were Salmonella (28%), Toxoplasma gondii (24%), Listeria monocytogenes (19%) and norovirus (11%) 2




Common Foodborne Toxins


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