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  • Foodborne illness in Australia

    Annual incidence circa 2010

  • 2

    Foodborne illness in Australia: Annual incidence circa 2010

    Authors: Martyn Kirk, Kathryn Glass, Laura Ford, Kathryn Brown and Gillian Hall, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University.

    Prepared for the Australian Government Department of Health, New South Wales Food Authority and Food Standards Australia New Zealand by the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University.

    Online ISBN: 978-1-74186-170-9

    Publications approval number: 10768

    Commonwealth of Australia 2014

    This work is copyright. You may download, display, print and reproduce the whole or part of this work in unaltered form for your own personal use or, if you are part of an organisation, for internal use within your organisation, but only if you or your organisation do not use the reproduction for any commercial purpose and retain this copyright notice and all disclaimer notices as part of that reproduction. Apart from rights to use as permitted by the Copyright Act 1968 or allowed by this copyright notice, all other rights are reserved and you are not allowed to reproduce the whole or any part of this work in any way (electronic or otherwise) without first being given the specific written permission from the Commonwealth to do so. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights are to be sent to the Communication Branch, Department of Health, GPO Box 9848, Canberra ACT 2601, or via e-mail to copyright@health.gov.au.

    Front cover images Images by CDC (Melissa Brower, Dawn Arlotta and Mary Anne Fenley) and Katrina Knope.

  • 3Foodborne illness in Australia circa 2010

    ContentsGlossary and acronyms ................................................................................................................................ 4

    Executive summary ....................................................................................................................................... 7

    Acknowledgements ...................................................................................................................................... 8

    Introduction ................................................................................................................................................... 8

    Aims ............................................................................................................................................................. 10

    Comparing foodborne illness internationally ............................................................................................ 11

    Methods ....................................................................................................................................................... 15

    Results .......................................................................................................................................................... 21

    Discussion .................................................................................................................................................... 30

    Conclusion .................................................................................................................................................. 35

    Technical Appendix 1: Further comparing foodborne illness internationally .......................................... 37

    Technical Appendix 2: National gastroenteritis survey II ........................................................................... 45

    Technical Appendix 3: Data sources ......................................................................................................... 52

    Technical Appendix 4: Approaches for calculating community incidence ........................................... 54

    Technical Appendix 5: Multipliers ............................................................................................................... 56

    Technical Appendix 6: Other methods to estimate incidence ................................................................ 63

    Technical Appendix 7: Hospitalisations and deaths methods ................................................................. 64

    Technical Appendix 8: Methods for sequelae incidence ......................................................................... 70

    Technical Appendix 9: Methods to estimate hospitalisations and deaths due to sequelae ................. 74

    Technical Appendix 10: Comparison with estimates circa 2000 ............................................................. 79

    Technical Appendix 11: Pathogen and illness sheets ............................................................................... 80

    References ................................................................................................................................................. 110

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    GLOSSARY AND ACRONYMS

    Asymptomatic A state where a person who is infected does not show any symptoms.

    GBS Guillain-Barr syndrome a disorder where the bodys immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system and may be the result of a preceding infectious event.

    CI Confidence interval represents a range of values that act as good estimates for an unknown parameter using a frequentist distribution.

    CrI Credible interval represents a range of values where the most likely estimate might lie using a posterior probability distribution. It may be interpreted similar to confidence intervals.

    DALY Disability adjusted life year a metric to describe the burden of disease that takes into account the morbidity and mortality of a condition.

    Delphi process A method for structuring a group communication process so that the process is effective in allowing a group of individuals, as a whole, to deal with a complex problem.

    Foodborne illness Any illness resulting from the consumption of contaminated food, pathogenic bacteria, viruses or parasites that contaminate food.

    HUS Haemolytic uraemic syndrome a disorder where blood cells are destroyed injuring the kidneys; often occurring following infection with toxin-producing bacteria.

    IBS Irritable bowel syndrome chronic abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea; often triggered as the result of bacterial gastroenteritis.

    ICD-10-AM International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision, Australian Modification.

    IID2 The second longitudinal study of infectious intestinal disease in the United Kingdom by Tam et al.1

    Incidence The rates at which new cases occur in a population in a specific time period.

    Monte Carlo simulation

    A computerised mathematical technique that performs risk analysis by building models of possible results by substituting a probability distribution for any factor that has inherent uncertainty and producing distributions of possible outcome values.

    Notifiable An infection that doctors, laboratories, or other health professionals must report or notify to health departments for the purpose of prevention and control.

  • 5Foodborne illness in Australia circa 2010

    NGSI National Gastroenteritis Survey I a nationally representative cross-sectional survey conducted in Australia in 20012002.

    NGSII National Gastroenteritis Survey II a nationally representative cross-sectional survey conducted in Australia in 20082009.

    NNDSS National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System the national system of surveillance for infectious diseases in Australia.

    OzFoodNet An Australian network for enhanced surveillance of foodborne disease established by the Australian Government Department of Health in 2000 with Australias state and territory health authorities. OzFoodNet investigates multi-jurisdictional outbreaks of disease, provides understanding of the causes and incidence of foodborne disease in the community, and provides evidence for policy formulation.

    OzFoodNet outbreak register

    A register of data on outbreaks of gastrointestinal and foodborne diseases that was established in 2000.

    Prevalence The proportion of the population that has a condition at a given point in time, including new and chronic cases of disease.

    ReA Reactive arthritis arthritis following bacterial infection; previously known as Reiters syndrome.

    STEC Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli strains of E. coli producing Shiga toxins, which may result in haemolytic uraemic syndrome.

    WQS Water Quality Study A randomised controlled trial conducted in Melbourne in 19971999 to examine whether reticulated water meeting national guidelines resulted in gastroenteritis by Hellard et al.2

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  • 7Foodborne illness in Australia circa 2010

    Executive summaryFoodborne illness causes significant morbidity and occasional mortality in Australia. Reports of disease outbreaks linked to contaminated food are common and may result in damage to specific food businesses, related food businesses and whole industries. Lost productivity, impacts on lifestyle and medical expenses from foodborne illness can result in a substantial burden for Australia. The costs of foodborne illness highlight the need to improve efforts to prevent disease and strengthen food safety.

    Understanding the epidemiology of diseases that occur as a result of contaminated food is complicated, as there are many different agents that can cause illness. While the majority of foodborne pathogens cause gastroenteritis, there are some that result in different illnesses, such as meningitis a

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