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CDC: 48 million people suffer foodborne illnesses annually

January 10, 2011

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Atlanta – Approximately 48 million Americans become sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die from foodborne disease each year, according to estimates released in December by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of the total number of illnesses, 9.4 million can be attributed to 31 known pathogens. The remaining 38 million are the result of unspecified agents. These include illnesses that researchers do not have sufficient data on, those that are not yet recognized as causing foodborne illness and those that have not yet been discovered. CDC hopes this new report will help increase understanding of foodborne illnesses in an attempt to prevent them in the future.

"We now know more than ever what pathogens are causing the most harm, and we will continue our work to help protect people from these illnesses," said Christopher Braden, director of CDC's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases.

The report provides the first estimates on foodborne illnesses since 1999. However, due to improvements in the quality and quantity of data and research methods used, the new figures cannot be accurately compared to 1999 statistics.

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