According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Campylobacter and Salmonella were the most reported bacterial foodborne illnesses in 2016.
The data, gathered by CDC’s Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) report provides the most up-to-date information about foodborne illnesses in the U.S.
FoodNet’s data represents 15 percent of the U.S. population. In 2016, the database recorded 24,029 foodborne infections, 5,512 hospitalizations, and 98 deaths. The number of reported illnesses by pathogen were as follows:
- Campylobacter (8,547)
- Salmonella (8,172)
- Shigella (2,913)
- Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (1,845)
- Cryptosporidium (1,816)
- Yersinia (302)
- Vibrio (252)
- Listeria (127)
- Cyclospora (55)
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Campylobacter is found most often in food, particularly in chicken. Food is contaminated when it comes into contact with animal feces. Any raw poultry may contain Campylobacter, including organic and “free range” products. In fact, studies have found Campylobacter contamination on up to 88 percent of chicken carcasses. Despite the commonness of Campylobacter, however, infections are usually isolated events, and widespread outbreaks are rare.
Symptoms of food poisoning from Campylobacter usually occur 2 to 5 days after a person eats contaminated food, but may take up to 10 days to appear. The most common symptom of a Campylobacter infection is diarrhea, which is often bloody. Typical symptoms include:
- Diarrhea: Diarrhea ranges from mild to severe and is often bloody
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle pain
Two age groups are most commonly affected by Campylobacter: children under 5 years of age and young adults aged 15-29.
Salmonella infection usually occurs when a person eats food contaminated with the feces of animals or humans carrying the bacteria. Salmonella outbreaks are commonly associated with eggs, meat and poultry, but these bacteria can also contaminate other foods such as fruits and vegetables. Foods that are most likely to contain Salmonella include raw or undercooked eggs, raw milk, contaminated water, and raw or undercooked meats.
Salmonella is generally divided into two categories. Non-typhoidal Salmonella is the most common form, and is carried by both humans and animals. Most serotypes of Salmonella, such as Salmonella Javiana and Salmonella Enteritidis cause non-typhoidal Salmonella. Typhoidal Salmonella, which causes typhoid fever, is rare, and is caused by Salmonella Typhi, which is carried only by humans.
Symptoms of Salmonella Infection
Symptoms of Salmonella infection, or Salmonellosis, range widely, and are sometimes absent altogether. The most common symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever.
Typical Symptoms of Salmonella infection: Appear 6 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food and last for 3 to 7 days without treatment.
- Abdominal Cramps
- Fever of 100 F to 102 F
- Bloody diarrhea
- Body Aches
Typhoid Fever Symptoms: Symptoms of typhoid fever appear between 8 and 14 days after eating contaminated food and last anywhere from 3 to 60 days. They include a fever of 104 F, weakness, lethargy, abdominal pain, coughing, nosebleeds, delirium, and enlarged organs. Typhoid fever is a serious illness that can result in death.