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Bacterial Enteric Infections Among Older Adults in the United States: Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, 1996–2012

Scallan, Elaine, Crim, Stacy M., Runkle, Arthur, Henao, Olga L., Mahon, Barbara E., Hoekstra, Robert M., Griffin, Patricia M.
Foodborne pathogens & disease 2015 v.12 no.6 pp. 492-499
Campylobacter, Escherichia coli O157, FoodNet (CDC), Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, campylobacteriosis, death, elderly, feces, foodborne illness, pathogens, patients, salmonellosis, statistical models, United States
Background: A growing segment of the population—adults aged ≥65 years—is more susceptible than younger adults to certain enteric (including foodborne) infections and experience more severe disease.Materials and Methods: Using data on laboratory-confirmed infections from the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), we describe trends in the incidence of Campylobacter spp., Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, and nontyphoidal Salmonella infections in adults aged ≥65 years over time and by age group and sex. We used data from FoodNet and other sources to estimate the total number of illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States caused by these infections each year using a statistical model to adjust for underdiagnosis (taking into account medical care-seeking, stool sample submission, laboratory practices, and test sensitivity).Results: From 1996 to 2012, 4 pathogens caused 21,405 laboratory-confirmed infections among older adults residing in the FoodNet surveillance area; 49.3% were hospitalized, and 2.6% died. The average annual rate of infection was highest for Salmonella (12.8/100,000) and Campylobacter (12.1/100,000). Salmonella and Listeria led as causes of death. Among older adults, rates of laboratory-confirmed infection and the percentage of patients who were hospitalized and who died generally increased with age. A notable exception was the rate of Campylobacter infections, which decreased with increasing age. Adjusting for underdiagnosis, we estimated that these pathogens caused about 226,000 illnesses (≈600/100,000) annually among U.S. adults aged ≥65 years, resulting in≈9700 hospitalizations and ≈500 deaths.Conclusions: Campylobacter, E. coli O157, Listeria, and Salmonella are major contributors to illness in older adults, highlighting the value of effective and targeted intervention.