Foodborne Illness, Australia, Circa 2000 and Circa 2010 - Volume 20, Number 11—November 2014 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC
Volume 20, Number 11—November 2014
Foodborne Illness, Australia, Circa 2000 and Circa 2010
Foodborne illness is a major public health problem and a common cause of illness and death worldwide. Outbreaks linked to contaminated food can affect the public’s trust and financially harm implicated businesses and associated food industries. Estimates of the effects of foodborne illnesses and individual pathogens provide evidence for policy interventions and food safety regulation. In addition, estimates of changes in the incidence of foodborne illnesses and hospitalizations over time provide information on the effectiveness of changes to food safety standards and regulation.
Many agents can cause foodborne illness; some of these agents are transmitted to humans by other routes as well as by food. Most foodborne illnesses manifest as gastroenteritis, but other presentations, such as meningitis and hepatitis may also result from infection, and sequelae may occur weeks after the acute infection.
Many countries have estimated the incidence of foodborne diseases (1–5). In Australia in 2000, foodborne incidence, hospitalizations, and deaths were estimated to cost 1.25 billion Australian dollars annually (6,7). However, since 2000, surveillance has substantially improved, data availability has increased, and methods have been refined. To inform current public health decisions and policies in Australia, we used new methods and datasets to estimate the incidence of infectious gastroenteritis and associated hospitalizations and deaths in Australia circa 2010. We then applied these refined methods to circa 2000 data so that estimates from the 2 periods could be directly compared.
Dr Kirk is Head of the Master of Philosophy in Applied Epidemiology program—Australia’s Field Epidemiology Training Program—and an associate professor at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University. His research interests include foodborne and waterborne diseases, particularly those affecting vulnerable population groups.
We thank John Bates, Kathryn Brown, Duncan Craig, Margaret Curran, Patricia Desmarchelier, Gerard Fitzsimmons, Katie Fullerton, Joy Gregory, David Jordan, Tony Merritt, Jennie Musto, Nevada Pingault, Jane Raupach, Craig Shadbolt, Lisa Szabo, Hassan Vally, Mark Veitch, and Stephanie Williams for assistance with this study. We also thank Martha Sinclair for providing us with additional data from the Melbourne Water Quality Study and the OzFoodNet network, public health laboratories, and health department staff in Australia for the robust collection of data on foodborne diseases.
This project was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, Food Standards Australia New Zealand and New South Wales Food Authority.
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Suggested citation for this article: Kirk M, Ford L, Glass K, Hall G. Foodborne illness, Australia, circa 2000 and circa 2010. Emerg Infect Dis. 2014 Nov [Date cited]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2011.131315