Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2004
Publication Date: 5/17/2004
Citation: Fratamico, P.M., Tamplin, M.L., Smith, J.L. 2004. Food-borne pathogens and at-risk populations: microbiological considerations. Meeting Abstract. P.7 Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: There are an estimated 76,000,000 cases of food-borne illness in the U.S. each year, and the majority of these cases are self-limiting. In individuals with compromised host defenses, however, the risk for severe and life-threatening symptoms is increased due to inadequate defenses to control microbial colonization, invasion, and expression of virulence factors. This high risk group includes individuals who have underlying disease conditions, those who are immunocompromised due to diseases that affect the function of cells of the immune system, persons older than 65 years and children less than 4 years of age, pregnant women and the fetus, individuals who are nutritionally compromised, persons medically compromised as a result of drug treatments for disease and transplantation, and individuals with lower levels of gastric acidity due to medication or surgery. For example, Listeria monocytogenes has a predilection for the fetoplacental unit, and the incidence of infection in pregnant women is 17 times higher than in the general population. Due to a decrease in cellular immunity, there is increased morbidity and mortality due to infection with food-borne bacterial pathogens in the elderly compared to the general population. Individuals with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and with acute leukemia are 857 and 1429 times, respectively, more susceptible to infection with Listeria monocytogenes compared to the normal population, and kidney transplant recipients have a 143 fold increased incidence of infection compared to normal individuals. Since the population size of high-risk groups is steadily increasing in the U.S., there is need for food safety interventions that can be implemented by the food industry, caregivers, and food handlers.