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Int J Food Microbiol. 2015 Mar 2;196:84-93. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2014.11.022. Epub 2014 Dec 3.

Cost-of-illness and disease burden of food-related pathogens in the Netherlands, 2011.

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Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Centre for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands. Electronic address:
Centre for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.
Risk Sciences International, Ottawa, Canada.
Centre for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands; Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


To inform risk management decisions on control and prevention of food-related disease, both the disease burden expressed in Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) and the cost-of-illness of food-related pathogens are estimated and presented. Disease burden of fourteen pathogens that can be transmitted by food, the environment, animals and humans was previously estimated by Havelaar et al. (2012). In this paper we complement these by cost-of-illness estimates. Together, these present a complete picture of the societal burden of food-related diseases. Using incidence estimates for 2011, community-acquired non-consulting cases, patients consulting their general practitioner, hospitalized patients and the incidence of sequelae and fatal cases, estimates were obtained for DALYs, direct healthcare costs (e.g. costs for doctor's fees, hospitalizations and medicines), direct non-healthcare costs (e.g. travel costs to and from the doctor), indirect non-healthcare costs (e.g. productivity loss, special education) and total costs. The updated disease burden for 2011 was equal to 13,940 DALY/year (undiscounted) or 12,650 DALY/year (discounted at 1.5%), and was of the same magnitude as previous estimates. At the population-level thermophilic Campylobacter spp., Toxoplasma gondii and rotavirus were associated with the highest disease burden. Perinatal listeriosis infection was associated with the highest DALY per symptomatic case. The total cost-of-illness in 2011 of fourteen food-related pathogens and associated sequelae was estimated at € 468 million/year, if undiscounted, and at € 416 million/year if discounted by 4%. Direct healthcare costs accounted for 24% of total costs, direct non-healthcare costs for 2% and indirect non-healthcare costs for 74% of total costs. At the population-level, norovirus had the highest total cost-of-illness in 2011 with € 106 million/year, followed by thermophilic Campylobacter spp. (€ 76 million/year) and rotavirus (€ 73 million/year). Cost-of-illness per infected case varied from € 150 for Clostridium perfringens intoxications to € 275,000 for perinatal listeriosis. Both incident cases and fatal cases are more strongly correlated with COI/year than with DALY/year. More than 40% of all cost-of-illness and DALYs can be attributed to food, in total € 168 million/year and 5,150 DALY/year for 2011. Beef, lamb, pork and poultry meat alone accounted for 39% of these costs. Products of animal origin accounted for € 86 million/year (or 51% of the costs attributed to food) and 3,320 DALY/year (or 64% of the disease burden attributed to food). Among the pathogens studied Staphylococcus aureus intoxications accounted for the highest share of costs attributed to food (€ 47.1 million/year), followed by Campylobacter spp. (€ 32.0 million/year) and norovirus (€ 17.7 million/year).


Attribution; Costs; DALY; Direct healthcare costs; Foodborne pathogens; Indirect non-healthcare costs

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