Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 22, 2004
Publication Date: May 17, 2004
Citation: Smith, J.L., Tamplin, M.L., Fratamico, P.M. 2004. Compromised human health and the increased risk of foodborne disease. Meeting Abstract. P.19. Technical Abstract: Epidemiological data show that the majority of foodborne illnesses are mild and self-limiting. However, the incidence of infection and the risk for severe and life-threatening symptoms is increased for persons with compromised host defenses. This high risk group includes persons with immunodeficiencies, persons older than 65 years of age, children 4 years of age or younger, pregnant women and the fetus, individuals that are nutritionally compromised, persons medically compromised as a result of drug treatments and transplants, and individuals with lower levels of gastric acidity due to medication or surgery. With such conditions, foodborne pathogens have a greater potential to invade and colonize tissues, and express virulence factors. For example, reports show that the mortality rate due to Staphylococcus aureus intoxication is 39 times higher for the elderly than for the general population. Persons receiving kidney transplants are 143 times more likely to be infected with Listeria monocytogenes than the general population. AIDS patients have a 39-fold greater risk for gastroenteritis caused by Campylobacter jejuni. These data underscore the need for food safety interventions that can be implemented by patients, caregivers, food handlers, and health professionals.