Consumer Health

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​Consumer Health Division | Foodborne Illness

According to CDC (Center for Disease Control), an estimated 48 million cases of foodborne disease occur each year in the United States. The great majority of these cases is mild and cause symptoms for only a day or two.  Some cases are more serious, and CDC estimates that there are 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths related to foodborne diseases each year.  The most severe cases tend to occur in the very old, the very young, those who have an illness already that reduces their immune system function, and in healthy people exposed to a very high dose of an organism.

Once a foodborne illness is reported, an investigation begins. The symptoms and time of onset, and location of possible cases are determined.  The foodborne illness is systematically described by time, place, and person.  If the causative microbe is not known, samples of stool or blood are collected from ill people and sent to the analytical laboratory to make the diagnosis.

The following five illnesses are of particular concern to the CDC because of their rapid transmission through people, equipment, and contaminated foods, can cause serious illness leading to death and become an epidemic in a very short time. Those five foodborne illnesses are ​NorovirusHepatitis A,SalmonellaShigella, and E. coli O157:H7.

For immediate response, contact the Consumer Health Division at 214-670-8083, or 311 for weeknights and weekends.

For more detailed information regarding foodborne illness and outbreaks, refer to
the following websites:

Center of Disease Control

Foodborne Illness