Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/14/2006
Publication Date: 10/9/2006
Citation: Wesley, I.V. 2006. Overview of foodborne pathogens [abstract]. International Congress on Foodborne Pathogens. October 9-11, 2006, Monterrey, Mexico. 2006 CDROM.
Technical Abstract: In the United States, an estimated 76 million cases of foodborne illness resulting in 325,000 hospitalizations and ~5,000 deaths occur annually. Of these the etiology or known cause is recognized for 14 million or ~20% of cases. In other words, the cause is unknown for 80% of these events. Viruses, including hepatitis and Norwalk virus (noroviruses), constitute the major cause of human illnesses. Viruses are host- specific therefore human transmission occurs via fecally contaminated foods. Of the bacterial foodborne agents, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and Escherichia coli O157:H7 are among the major etiological agents. In addition, Yersinia enterocolitica is also under surveillance by FoodNet. Shellfish (22%), fruits, vegetables and salads (22%) are the major known foods associated with human foodborne illness. Whereas viruses are transmitted from humans to humans, bacterial enteritis represent zoonosis or animal infections which are transmitted to humans. For example, consumption of contaminated poultry is a known risk factor for Campylobacter and Salmonella. In 1997 FSIS young turkey baseline survey reported Campylobacter (90% positive) and Salmonella (~20%) on turkey carcasses. Consumption of undercooked contaminated beef is a frequent cause of E. coli O157:H7. Outbreaks linked to consumption of apple juice can be traced to contamination with cattle manure. Eating contaminated pork, water or even milk has resulted in yersiniosis. In addition to human morbidity and mortality, contaminated meat, dairy, and poultry products have fueled major trade embargos and product recalls for the food industry. Because contaminated livestock entering the slaughterhouse are major risk factors for human infection, the goal of on-farm pathogen reduction strategies is delivery of livestock with low levels of bacterial pathogens. The CDC has set targeted reductions for bacterial pathogens to be achieved by the year 2010. For Campylobacter, whereas 50 cases/100,000 population occurred in 1987, and 25 cases/100,00 ten years later, the goal for 2010 is no more than 12.3 cases/100,000. Similar ambitious goals have been set for Salmonella. Because of the increase in Salmonella-contaminated birds at slaughter despite aggressive HACCP programs, FSIS has made Salmonella reduction in poultry a major initiative. This presentation will highlight our research to reduce the entry of foodborne pathogens into the food chain with a special emphasis on the on-farm aspects.