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Salmonella, Listeria Top List of Foodborne Killers

Salmonella and Listeria continue to be the leading cause of death from foodborne illness in the United States, according to a study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The statistics come from an analysis of FoodNet data from 1996 to 2005. FoodNet is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention foodborne illness surveillance system in 10 states.

From 1996 to 2005, FoodNet recorded 215 Salmonella-caused fatalities and 168 Listeria-caused deaths out of the 121,536 cases of lab-confirmed bacterial infections transmitted through food, the authors said.

The highest mortality rates were among adults older than 65 for all pathogens except Shigella, which most affected children under 5.

Listeria was the most lethal of the foodborne pathogens, with the highest case fatality rate, followed by Vibrio, E. coli O157, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Shigella.

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