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How much gastroenteritis in Australia is due to food? Estimating the incidence of foodborne gastroenteritis in Australia

CollectionsANU National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health (NCEPH)
Title: How much gastroenteritis in Australia is due to food? Estimating the incidence of foodborne gastroenteritis in Australia
Author(s): Hall, Gillian
Keywords: foodborne transmission
Series/Report no.: National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health (NCEPH) Working Paper: No. 51
Estimating the Incidence of Foodborne Gastroenteritis in Australia • Of the 17 million episodes of gastroenteritis identified in a year in the gastroenteritis survey, it is estimated that about 32%, or 5.4 (Credible interval: 4.0-6.9) million cases are due to foodborne transmission. This equates to an incidence of 0.29 episodes per person per year; on average, every Australian can expect to experience an episode of foodborne illness every three to four years. • Other similar studies to estimate the amount of foodborne gastroenteritis have been done recently in US [1] and UK [2]. The Australian estimate is remarkably similar to that reported for the United States of America, but higher than in the United Kingdom. In America, 36% of all gastroenteritis was estimated to be due to foodborne transmission and the incidence estimate is 0.28 cases per person per year. • Almost four and a half million cases (Credible interval: 3.5-5.3) of gastroenteritis were estimated to be due to ‘known’ pathogens. This leaves over 12 million of the total 17 million cases estimated from the gastroenteritis survey unaccounted for. Of the known causes, about 1.6 million (Credible interval: 1.59-1.68) are due to bacterial infections, 2.3 million (Credible interval: 1.74-2.82) due to viral infections and 0.7 million (Credible interval: 0.44-0.97) due to parasites. About 58% of bacterial, 21% of viral and 14% of parasitic gastroenteritis is estimated as foodborne, with an overall total estimate of 32% (Credible interval: 24-40%) of all gastroenteritis due to foodborne transmission. The pathogens responsible for the greatest number of episodes of foodborne gastroenteritis are Caliciviruses, E. coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella.


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