New Report on Foodborne Disease Outbreaks

In 2017, 841 foodborne disease outbreaks were reported to CDC, according to a recently released annual summary from the Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System. The data come from reports submitted by state, local, and territorial public health agencies to the National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS), a platform for reporting enteric (gut) disease outbreaks due to food, water, animals and their environments, and from person-to-person transmission.

Although most foodborne illnesses are not part of a recognized outbreak, outbreaks provide important information on the germs, toxins, and chemicals that cause illness and the implicated foods.
Here are the main findings:

Illustration showing the logo for the National Outbreak Reporting System Dashboard.

  • Reported foodborne disease outbreaks resulted in 14,481 illnesses, 827 hospitalizations, 20 deaths, and recalls of 14 food products.
  • Norovirus was the most frequently reported confirmed cause, with 140 outbreaks and 4,092 outbreak-associated illnesses.
  • Salmonella was the second most common, with 113 outbreaks and 3,007 outbreak-associated illnesses.
  • Restaurants were linked to outbreaks more often than any other place where food was prepared, as in previous reports. Restaurants were associated with 489 outbreaks, accounting for 64% of outbreaks that had a single location where food was prepared. Most of these restaurant outbreaks (366) occurred at establishments with sit-down dining.
  • The food categories responsible for the most outbreak-associated illnesses were:
    • Turkey (609 illnesses)
    • Fruits (521)
    • Chicken (487)
    • Pork (376)

See other report highlights >

Read the full report pdf icon[PDF, 15 pages] >

New Report Details a 2017 E. coli Outbreak Linked to Soy Nut Butter

A new report published in Pediatricsexternal icon describes a 2017 outbreak investigation of E. coli O157:H7 infections that sickened 32 people, primarily young children, in 12 states.

Investigators identified soy nut butter as the source of the outbreak, which led to a recall of more than 1.2 million pounds of products. Quick work by public health led to product recalls and consumer advisories within two weeks of initiating the investigation, which likely prevented additional illnesses.

This outbreak highlights several important reminders. Food manufacturers should minimize the risk of bacterial contamination when manufacturing ready-to-eat foods. Health care providers should promptly diagnosis and collect appropriate specimens to help detect outbreaks. Child care centers, and other settings with vulnerable populations, should practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

The full article can be found hereexternal icon.