Germ in raw milk, poultry now tops food poisoning list

April 20, 2017 by Mike Stobbe
In this June 19, 2015 file photo, eggs sit waiting to be cooked at a cafe in Des Moines, Iowa. The U.S. government's latest report card released Thursday, April 20, 2017, on food poisoning suggests that campylobacter, a germ commonly linked to raw milk and poultry, is surpassing salmonella at the top of the culprit list. The report counts cases in only 10 states for nine of the most common causes of foodborne illness, but is believed to be a good indicator of national food poisoning trends. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

The U.S. government's latest report card on food poisoning suggests that a germ commonly linked to raw milk and poultry is surpassing salmonella at the top of the culprit list.

The report counts cases in only 10 states for nine of the most common causes of foodborne illness, but is believed to be a good indicator of national food poisoning trends.

Highlights from Thursday's report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

WHAT'S MAKING US SICK?

The most common bug last year was campylobacter (kam-pih-loh-BAK'-tur). It's mostly a problem in unpasteurized dairy products, but also is seen in contaminated chicken, water, and produce. Salmonella was No. 1 for the last 20 years but last year moved down to No. 2. Other causes like listeria, shigella (shih-GEHL'-uh) and E. coli trail behind.

IS FOOD POISONING GETTING WORSE?

Actually, no. Last year, there were no significant changes in new case rates for most kinds of food poisoning, compared to the previous three years. The new report tallied about 24,000 illnesses and 98 deaths in the 10 states. The CDC estimates that 1 in 6 Americans get sick from contaminated food each year, though most cases are not reported.

ANY OTHER GOOD NEWS?

Yes. There's been a continued decline in illnesses from what used to be the most common strain of salmonella—called Salmonella Typhimurium. That's possibly because of vaccinations of chicken flocks and tighter regulations.

WHAT CHANGED IN THE REPORT?

Before this report, the CDC only counted results from traditional lab tests, which can take a couple of days. But the agency is now including results from new rapid tests, which check for 20 or more bugs and give results in an hour. Those tests are picking up more campylobacter but with the caveat that those might be dead germs that didn't cause any illness. While quicker, the new technology doesn't offer as many specifics and is making it more difficult to understand food poisoning trends.

CAN I PREVENT FOOD POISONING?

Yes. Carefully wash and clean food, and cook meat, poultry and eggs thoroughly. Avoid raw milk and unpasteurized juices. Promptly refrigerate leftovers. According to a U.S. government report, leafy greens like lettuce and spinach are the biggest source of food poisoning, and produce, in general, accounted for nearly half of all illnesses.

Explore further: Food poisonings up from raw milk, poultry bacteria

Related Stories

Food poisonings up from raw milk, poultry bacteria

April 18, 2013
(AP)—Health officials are seeing more food poisonings caused by a bacteria commonly linked to raw milk and poultry.

U.S. officials pinpoint common sources of foodborne illnesses

February 24, 2015
(HealthDay)—Beef, dairy, fruit and certain types of vegetables are among the most common sources for the four major types of foodborne illness that strike nearly 2 million Americans each year, a U.S. government report finds.

A food poisoning report with good news: Fewer E. coli cases

May 14, 2015
Health officials say fewer Americans are getting sick from a nasty germ sometimes found in undercooked hamburgers.

CDC: Some progress seen in foodborne illness

May 15, 2015
(HealthDay)—The incidence of reported infections with Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157 and a common strain of Salmonella bacteria have decreased, while infections with other types of Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Vibrio ...

Listeria infections stable but frequently reported among the elderly

December 16, 2016
Listeriosis affected about 2,200 people in 2015, causing 270 deaths - the highest number ever reported in the EU. The proportion of cases in the over 64 age group steadily increased from 56% in 2008 to 64% in 2015. Additionally, ...

Salmonella decline seen in food poisoning report

April 17, 2014
The government's latest report card on food poisoning is out, and it has some good news: a drop in illnesses from salmonella.

Recommended for you

Newly discovered viral marker could help predict flu severity in infected patients

October 20, 2017
Flu viruses contain defective genetic material that may activate the immune system in infected patients, and new research published in PLOS Pathogens suggests that lower levels of these molecules could increase flu severity.

H7N9 influenza is both lethal and transmissible in animal model for flu

October 19, 2017
In 2013, an influenza virus that had never before been detected began circulating among poultry in China. It caused several waves of human infection and in late 2016, the number of people to become sick from the H7N9 virus ...

Flu simulations suggest pandemics more likely in spring, early summer

October 19, 2017
New statistical simulations suggest that Northern Hemisphere flu pandemics are most likely to emerge in late spring or early summer at the tail end of the normal flu season, according to a new study published in PLOS Computational ...

New insights into herpes virus could inform vaccine development

October 18, 2017
A team of scientists has discovered new insights into the mechanisms of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection, as well as two antibodies that block the virus' entry into cells. The findings, published in Proceedings of the National ...

Pair of discoveries illuminate new paths to flu and anthrax treatments

October 17, 2017
Two recent studies led by biologists at the University of California San Diego have set the research groundwork for new avenues to treat influenza and anthrax poisoning.

Portable 3-D scanner assesses patients with elephantiasis

October 17, 2017
An estimated 120 million people worldwide are infected with lymphatic filariasis, a parasitic, mosquito-borne disease that can cause major swelling and deformity of the legs, a condition known as elephantiasis. Health-care ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.