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Synopsis for April 6, 2001

MMWR articles are embargoed until 4 p.m. E.S.T. Thursdays.

  1. Preliminary FoodNet Data on the Incidence of Foodborne Illnesses — Selected Sites, United States, 2000
  2. Occupational and Take-Home Lead Poisoning Associated With Sanding Chemically Stripped Furniture — California, 1998

MMWR Fact Sheet

April 6, 2001
Contact: CDC,Division of Media Relations
(404) 639–3286

Fact Sheet: FoodNet

  • FoodNet began tracking foodborne diseases in 5 states in 1996. In 2000, 8 states (California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, and Tennessee) participate in the project representing 11% of the U.S. population.

  • FoodNet provides information about the number of persons who were diagnosed with specific infections that are likely to be foodborne.

  • The data from FoodNet indicate that there is substantial variation in the incidence of foodborne illnesses from site to site. This marked regional variability indicates that prevention measures may need to target high incidence locations.

  • The initial declines in the incidence of Salmonella and Campylobacter infections were sustained through 2000. The introduction of new food safety regulations for meat and poultry, and the introduction of improved agricultural practices for fresh produce may have contributed to these declines.

  • Salmonella can be transmitted a variety of ways; by consuming contaminated meat and poultry; consuming contaminated produce, having contact with reptiles, and having contact with other animals.

  • Cases of Salmonella Enteritidis infection, often associated with eggs, have declined substantially since 1996. This continued decline in Salmonella enteritidis infections may be due to improved hygiene on egg-laying hen farms, improvements in keeping eggs refrigerated during transport and distribution, increased use of pasteurized eggs and egg products, improved cooking and handling of eggs in retail establishments and institutions, and consumer education.

  • During the early 1990's there was an approximate 50% reduction in the incidence of listeriosis. However, there have been no further sustained reductions. The ways foods are processed, distributed, prepared, and consumed today, present a challenge for efforts to reduce the incidence of this pathogen.

  • There has been no discernible decrease in E. coli O157 infections. Although ground beef is the major food that transmits this infection, many other foods — including sprouts, lettuce, and unpasteurized juice — can also transmit this disease. E coli O157 can also be spread through water (drinking and recreational) and from child-to-child in daycare centers. Additionally, recent investigations have shown that direct contact between people and cattle, either on working farms or petting farms, may also be a source of illnesses.

Preliminary FoodNet Data on the Incidence of Foodborne Illnesses — Selected Sites, United States, 2000

FoodNet is an important component of the U.S. food safety system, providing timely, active surveillance data for almost 11% of the U.S. population.


Division of Media Relations

CDC, Office of Communication
(404) 639–3286

FoodNet is now completing the 5th year of operation to assess the frequency of specific foodborne illnesses in the United States. The data indicate there is substantial regional and year-to-year variation in infections caused by specific pathogens. Campylobacater was the most frequently diagnosed pathogen, followed by Salmonella, Shigella, and E.coli O157. Modest, sustained declines have occurred in the rates of infection due to Campylobacter and Salmonella. The overall increase in Shigella cases was caused primarily by large outbreaks in Minnesota and California. E. coli O157 has not decreased in 2000 indicating that efforts to reduce its incidence need to be broadened. The changes in incidence have occurred in the setting of new food safety regulations, guidance to industry, additional efforts by industry and consumer education.


Occupational and Take-Home Lead Poisoning Associated With Sanding Chemically Stripped Furniture — California, 1998


Barbara Materna, Ph.D.

California Department of Health Services
(510) 622–4343 (4300)

After lead-painted wood has been chemically stripped with a caustic (alkaline) material, the bare wood may still contain lead that can be released if the wood is disturbed, for example by sanding. Public health investigators in California found that two young children and their father were lead poisoned from exposure to lead dust brought home from the father’s job in an antique furniture restoration shop. Five additional workers in the shop and one other worker’s child were also found to be lead poisoned. The investigation showed that the lead dust contamination came from sanding antique furniture from which the paint had been chemically stripped. The state health department officials believe that use of the alkaline chemical stripper caused lead to migrate from the old lead paint into the pores of the bare wood. Industries that handle stripped wood, including furniture refinishing and construction, should assess whether a lead hazard exists and take appropriate precautions to prevent exposure to workers and their family members.



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This page last reviewed Friday, April 6, 2001

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