Infectious Diseases 2021

Infectious Diseases 2021

The incidence and causes of disease potentially transmitted by food in Australia

6 November, 2021

In 2016, a total of 44,455 notifications of enteric diseases potentially related to food were received by state and territory health departments in Australia. Consistent with previous years, campylobacteriosis (n = 24,171) and salmonellosis (n = 18,060) were the most frequently-notified infections. Notable increases in incidence were observed for shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (n = 343; 166% increase), shigellosis (n = 1,408; 93% increase), campylobacteriosis (33% increase) and salmonellosis (30% increase) when compared with the historical five-year mean. The extent to which the introduction of culture-independent testing as a method of diagnosis has contributed to these increases remains unclear. In total, 188 gastrointestinal outbreaks, including 177 foodborne outbreaks, were reported in 2016. Foodborne outbreaks affected 3,639 people, resulting in at least 348 hospital admissions and four deaths.
Eggs continue to be a source of Salmonella Typhimurium infection across the country: 35 egg-related outbreaks, affecting approximately 510 people, were reported across six jurisdictions in 2016. Three large multi-jurisdictional Salmonella outbreaks associated with mung bean sprouts (n = 419 cases); bagged salad products (n = 311 cases); and rockmelons (n = 144 cases) were investigated in 2016. These outbreaks highlight the risks associated with fresh raw produce and the ongoing need for producers, retailers and consumers to implement strategies to reduce potential Salmonella contamination.

 

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