A new study estimates the mortality from foodborne disease in the UK caused by 11 key pathogens. The findings were published in BMJ Open Gastroenterology.
Researchers used four different models for the estimation of deaths from 11 foodborne pathogens using sources such as enhanced surveillance, outbreaks, death certificates and hospital episode statistics data.
Overall, 11 key foodborne pathogens were estimated to cause 180 (95% credible interval [CrI], 113-359) deaths annually in the UK. The majority of deaths occurred in individuals aged >75 years. Foodborne norovirus, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, Clostridium perfringens and Campylobacter were accountable for 56 (95% CrI, 32-92), 33 (95% CrI, 7-159), 26 (95% CrI, 24-28), 25 (95% CrI, 1-163) and 21 (95% CrI, 8-47) deaths per year, respectively. They could not be ranked due to considerable overlap in the CrIs. Mortality from foodborne Shigella, Cryptosporidium, Giardia, adenovirus, astrovirus and rotavirus is rare, with most of the median estimates being 0.
Although the deaths comprise a small fraction of around 2.4 million cases of foodborne illness per year in the UK, these findings "highlight the potential severity of Salmonella, L. monocytogenes, C. perfringens, Campylobacter and norovirus, particularly in comparison with other infectious intestinal diseases that have a food source," the authors say.