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Gastroenterology. 2009 May;136(6):1851-62. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2009.01.074. Epub 2009 May 7.

The economics of enteric infections: human foodborne disease costs.

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1
US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Washington, DC, USA. jbuzby@ers.usda.gov

Abstract

The World Health Organization estimates that in 2005, 1.5 million people died, worldwide, from diarrheal diseases. A separate study estimated that 70% of diarrheal diseases are foodborne. The widely cited US estimate is that there are 76 million foodborne illnesses annually, resulting in 325,000 hospitalizations and 5200 deaths. However, there are epidemiologic and methodologic challenges to accurately estimate the economic burden of foodborne disease on society, either in terms of monetary costs or non-monetary units of measurement. Studies on the economic burden of foodborne disease vary considerably: some analyze the effects of a single pathogen or a single outbreak, whereas others attempt to estimate all foodborne disease in a country. Differences in surveillance systems, methodology, and other factors preclude meaningful comparisons across existing studies. However, if it were possible to completely estimate the societal costs for all acute foodborne diseases and their chronic sequelae worldwide, on the basis of currently available data, worldwide costs from these illnesses would be substantial. Moreover, foodborne infections are largely manifested as intestinal illnesses and are largely preventable. Total costs of foodborne disease would be much smaller in the United States and the world if economic incentives for industry to produce safer food were improved. However, costs of implementing new food safety prevention and control rules must be weighed against the estimated benefits of reducing foodborne disease to determine net benefits so that governments have information to efficiently allocate funds among competing programs.

PMID:
19457414
DOI:
10.1053/j.gastro.2009.01.074
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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