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Commun Dis Intell Q Rep. 2006;30(3):278-300.

Burden and causes of foodborne disease in Australia: Annual report of the OzFoodNet network, 2005.

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  • 1OzFoodNet, Office of Health Protection, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, Canberra.


In 2005, OzFoodNet sites recorded 25,779 notifications of seven potentially foodborne diseases, which was 12.5 per cent higher than the mean for the previous five years. Diseases with significant increases in 2005, when compared to historical reports include: Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, shigellosis, haemolytic uraemic syndrome, salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis. The most significant increases were those due to Salmonella (13.1%) and Campylobacter (5.1%) because of the frequency of these infections. Reports of listeriosis were lower than previous years and there were only four materno-foetal infections compared to seven in 2004. Sites reported 624 outbreaks of gastroenteritis and foodborne disease in 2005. One hundred and two of these were foodborne and affected 1,926 persons, hospitalised 187 and caused four deaths. Among foodborne outbreaks, Salmonella Typhimurium was the most common pathogen and restaurants were the most common place where food implicated in outbreaks was prepared. Outbreaks associated with fish, poultry meat, and mixed meat dishes were common. There were several large outbreaks of salmonellosis, including one associated with dips at a Turkish restaurant, one with alfalfa sprouts, and two due to egg-based dishes. In addition, there were several multi-state investigations of Salmonella infection during 2005, including one large outbreak of S. Typhimurium 135 implicating poultry meat from retail supermarkets. Sites identified a source of infection for 39 per cent (41/104) of investigations into clusters of salmonellosis. Overall, 97.4 per cent of Salmonella notifications on state and territory surveillance databases recorded complete information about serotype and phage type. This report highlights the considerable burden of disease from food sources in Australia and the need to continue to improve food safety.

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