Foodborne bacteria cause more illnesses among children than adults, according to new estimates. A study published this week in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal finds that children less than five years old fall ill from intestinal bacteria originating in food more often than adults. Researchers looked at the incidence of five foodborne pathogens – Campylobacter, Escherichia coli O157, nontyphoidal Salmonella, Shigella, and Yersinia enterocolitica. While looking at data, they wondered whether childhood foodborne illness only seemed more common because it was more widely diagnosed. “Higher incidences of laboratory-confirmed illness may be explained, at least in part, by higher rates of medical care-seeking and stool sample submission in this age group,” note the authors. However, researchers say that even after adjusting for under-diagnosis in both groups, rates of illness still remain higher among younger children than the general population. Together, the five bacterial enteric pathogens caused 291,162 illnesses per year among children less than 5 years old, causing 102,746 physician visits, 7,830 hospitalizations and 64 deaths. A majority of the illnesses (42 percent) were caused by non-typhoidal Salmonella, followed by Campylobacter (28 percent), Shigella (21 percent), Y. enterocolitica (5 percent) and E. coli O157 (3 percent). Statistics were obtained from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), a database the government has used to monitored foodborne illness incidence and trends since 1996.