USDA: Salmonella Tops List of 15 Most Costly Pathogens

salmonella_blogAccording to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, Salmonella causes an estimated $3.7 billion each year in medical costs for Americans, making it the most costly foodborne illness. The list below lays out the other most costly foodborne illness as reported by Food Safety News who compiled the information from the USDA. This list is regularly updated with cost estimates for foodborne pathogens to keep policymakers and the public informed about the relative impact of foodborne illness.

According to the article, the top 15 foodborne pathogens account for 95 percent of illnesses and deaths related to food in the U.S.

The 15 costliest foodborne pathogens are as follows:

  1. Salmonella – $3.7 billion; 1,027,561 total cases; 19,336 hospitalized; 378 deaths
  2. Toxoplasma gondii – $3.3 billion; 86,686 cases; 4,428 hospitalized; 343 deaths
  3. Listeria monocytogenes – $2.8 billion; 1,591 cases; 1,173 hospitalized; 306 deaths
  4. Norovirus – $2.3 billion; 5,461,731 cases; 14,663 hospitalized; 149 deaths
  5. Campylobacter – $1.9 billion; 845,024 cases; 8,463 hospitalized; 76 deaths
  6. Clostridium perfringens – $343 million; 965,958 cases; 438 hospitalized; 26 deaths
  7. Vibrio vulnificus – $320 million; 96 cases; 93 hospitalized; 36 deaths
  8. Yersinia enterocolitica – $278 million; 97,656 cases; 480 hospitalized; 29 deaths
  9. E. coli O157 – $271 million; 63,153 cases; 2,138 hospitalized; 30 deaths
  10. Vibrio (all other non-cholera species) – 17,564 cases; 83 hospitalized; 8 deaths
  11. Shigella – $138 million; 131,254 cases; 1,456 hospitalized; 10 deaths
  12. Cryptosporidium – $52 million; 57,616 cases; 210 hospitalized; 4 deaths
  13. Vibrio parahaemolyticus – $41 million; 34,664 cases; 100 hospitalized; 4 deaths
  14. E. coli non-O157 – $27 million; 112,752 cases; 271 hospitalized; 1 death
  15. Cyclospora – $2 million; 11,407 cases; 11 hospitalized; zero deaths

As stated in the article, deaths accounted for the greatest costs incurred from food poisoning. For example, the 378 deaths attributed to Salmonella accounted for 89 percent of the total cost associated with the pathogen, despite Salmonella’s 0.04-percent death rate.

Other costs incurred can include medical costs, time away from work, and the societal willingness to pay to prevent deaths, USDA said.

“Cost estimates of foodborne illnesses have been used in the past to help inform food-safety policy discussions,” the agency noted, “and these updated cost estimates will provide a foundation for economic analysis of food safety policy.”

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