Foodborne disease is a pervasive problem caused by consumption of contaminated food and drink. More than 200 pathogens are associated with the disease. An estimated 76 million cases occur annually, resulting in 300,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths.
Foodborne disease can be caused by bacteria, parasites, toxins, and viruses. Cultural and demographic factors, as well as increased mobility, have resulted in major epidemiologic shifts in foodborne disease during recent decades.
Most foodborne disease is self-limited and requires only supportive care. The very young, older adults, immune compromised patients, and pregnant women may benefit from antibiotic treatment for certain bacterial or parasitic infections. Drug-resistant pathogens require knowledge of regional, national, and international patterns of resistance to allow appropriate empirical selection of therapy.
It is estimated that food related diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the each year. Known pathogens account for an estimated 14 million illnesses, 60,000 hospitalizations, and 1,800 deaths.