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Volume 17, Number 1—January 2011


Foodborne Illness Acquired in the United States—Unspecified Agents

Elaine Scallan1Comments to Author , Patricia M. Griffin, Frederick J. Angulo, Robert V. Tauxe, and Robert M. Hoekstra
Author affiliations: Author affiliation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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Estimated annual number of episodes of domestically acquired, foodborne illness, hospitalizations, and deaths caused by 31 pathogens and unspecified agents transmitted through food, United States*

Cause Illnesses
Mean (90% CrI) % Mean (90% CrI) % Mean (90% CrI) %
Major known pathogens† 9,388,075
(6,641,440–12,745,709) 20 55,961 (39,534–75,741) 44 1,351 (712–2,268) 44
Unspecified agents‡ 38,392,704
(19,829,069–61,196,274) 80 71,878 (9,924–157,340) 56 1,686 (369–3,338) 56
Total 47,780,779
(28,658,973–71,133,833) 100 127,839 (62,529–215,562) 100 3,037 (1,492–4,983) 100

*All estimates were based on US population in 2006. CrI, credible interval.
†The 31 known pathogens are astrovirus, Bacillus cereus, Brucella spp., Campylobacter spp., Clostridium botulinum, Clostridium perfringens, Cryptosporidium spp., Cyclospora cayetanensis, enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC), Shiga toxin–producing E. coli (STEC) O157, STEC non-O157, diarrheagenic E. coli other than STEC and ETEC, Giardia intestinalis, hepatitis A virus, Listeria monocytogenes, Mycobacterium bovis, norovirus, rotavirus, sapovirus, nontyphoidal Salmonella spp., S. enterica serotype Typhi, Shigella spp., Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus spp. group A, Toxoplasma gondii, Trichinella spp., Vibrio cholerae, V. vulnificus, V. parahemolyticus, other Vibrio spp., and Yersinia spp (1).
‡Unspecified agents are defined as agents that cause acute gastroenteritis other than the 31 major known pathogens listed above. They include known agents with insufficient data to estimate agent-specific episodes of illness; known agents not yet recognized as causing foodborne illness; microbes, chemicals, and other substances known to be in food but whose pathogenicity is unproven; and agents not yet described.

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1Current affiliation: Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, Colorado, USA.