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Salmonella cases down, but watch out for other foodborne bacteria
Foodborne illnesses often found in raw or undercooked shellfish have increased by 75% since 2006-2008, the CDC says.
April 17th, 2014
03:33 PM ET

Salmonella cases down, but watch out for other foodborne bacteria

You might want to think twice before heading out to your favorite oyster bar.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual report card on foodborne illnesses, vibrio infections - most frequently found in raw or undercooked shellfish - have increased by 75% since the CDC's previous analysis period, 2006-2008.

That's about 6,600 cases for every 100,000 people - and for every case that is reported, the CDC estimates there 142 more that aren't diagnosed.

The microbe that causes vibrio is found naturally in coastal saltwater. It only represents 1% of foodborne illness in the United States, according to the CDC, but that's still 35,000 cases of food poisoning each year. Vibrio infections are at their highest rate since the CDC started tracking nine foodborne illness-related microorganisms in 1996, according to the new report.

Food poisoning is a big deal. One in every six Americans gets food poisoning every year, with about 100,000 people going to the hospital. Children under the age of 5 and those over 65 are those most at risk.

There were also increases in campylobacter infections, the second most common foodborne pathogen in the United States. Since the 2006-2008 period, there has been a 13% increase in the number of campylobacter cases. The campylobacter bacteria is often linked to dairy products and chicken. For every case reported, the report suggests, another 30 aren't.

However, there was also some good news.

The number of cases of Salmonella, the most common foodborne illness, actually dropped by 9% compared to the last three-year period. But Dr. David Goldman with the USDA's Office of Public Health Science pointed out that while Salmonella cases have dropped this year, "the overall rate of salmonella hasn't substantially dropped overall, and we're focused on this."

The CDC, the Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration are using this data to help evaluate new standards for poultry and other areas of food safety and preparation.

As Dr. Robert Tauxe, deputy director of the CDC's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, pointed out, "The news is mixed. Some improvements were made but substantial more work is needed. "

Dr. Stephen Ostroff, acting chief scientist of the FDA, agreed. "The findings reinforce the importance of moving ahead with food safety from farm to consumer."


soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Yes It's Not

    You know what mild food poisoning does? Makes us stronger as a species. If the cause of the issue is a bacteria or a virus, exposure develops antibodies, and if this happens over enough survivable "transactions" then eventually our species becomes immune to it. Our medical community is going to severely hurt our species with all of this "don't get sick" stuff. Humans are SUPPOSED TO GET SICK.

    Ever wonder why an alligator can live in incredibly disease ridden water and not get ill? Their immune system has evolved defenses against those diseases. If we keep shielding the human race from every little bug that pops up, We'll be in trouble.

    April 17, 2014 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Yakobi

      Yeah, genius, the illnesses also KILL OFF a lot of people with weakened immune systems like the elderly. But I suppose you chalk this up to survival of the fittest, eh?
      Excuse me if I don't want to wait millions of years to evolve an immune system equal to alligators.

      April 17, 2014 at 19:06 | Report abuse |
    • Eeyore

      You are simply not correct. There is NO evidence that our immune systems get stronger when we get sick from food poisoning. Stop pretending you know what you're talking about. It's not working.

      April 18, 2014 at 11:36 | Report abuse |
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      April 19, 2014 at 11:21 | Report abuse |
  2. Skeptimist

    Look at that that photo and explain how you tell the difference between a platter of raw oysters or the product of a really bad cold. There's a reason that stuff's not Kosher.

    April 17, 2014 at 18:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. pprty

    People who eat raw oysters deserve to get sick!

    April 17, 2014 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bob

      Why ?

      April 17, 2014 at 22:30 | Report abuse |
    • Eeyore

      Really? Why do you think it's wrong for people to eat raw oysters if they choose to do so? Why do they deserve to suffer from food poisoning?

      April 18, 2014 at 11:38 | Report abuse |
    • LiJo

      Just because you don't like raw oysters doesn't mean the rest of the world doesn't! Just a FYI

      April 30, 2014 at 10:57 | Report abuse |
  4. john

    If there are 6600 cases per 100,000, and they estimate each one of those has 142 others that go unreported, does that mean 943,800/100,000 of us have it?!?

    April 17, 2014 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bob

      That's what I was thinking.

      April 17, 2014 at 22:29 | Report abuse |
  5. Patrick W

    Classic yellow journalism. CNN, you can do better than this.

    April 18, 2014 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LiJo

      lol so true!

      April 30, 2014 at 10:59 | Report abuse |
  6. GOP Prayer

    The GOP Prayer/Mantra/Solution: Dear God...With your loving kindness, help us to turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Non-white, Non-christian, Female, and Gay people into slaves. Then, with your guidance and compassion, we will whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, White, Christian, Male, and Straight. Or until they are dead. God...Grant us the knowledge to then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military during the next "unfunded/off-the-books" war. God...Give us the strength during our speeches to repeatedly yell........TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH!!!..........and........GET RID OF SS AND MEDICARE!!!
    In your name we prey (purposely misspelled, or is it?)........Amen

    April 18, 2014 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Oliver

    Poll: What food disgusts you?
    http://www.midzy.com/poll/248

    August 28, 2014 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.