According to Public Health France, food poisoning, or "foodborne infections", would represent approximately 1.5 million cases each year and would result in more than 17,000 hospitalizations and more than 200 deaths. The main causes of infection are viral, but Salmonella is the leading cause of death and the second most common cause of hospitalization.
The study focused on the period 2008-2013, in metropolitan France, and was published this Tuesday in the Bulletin Epidémiologique Hebdomadaire, the magazine of Public Health France. She estimated the number of annual cases of episodes of food intoxication, hospitalized cases and deaths for 21 pathogens (10 bacteria, 3 viruses, 8 parasites) transmitted to humans through food. The weight of bacterial infections of digestive origin (Salmonella and Liseria) is expressed mainly in terms of hospitalization and death.
Frequency of Norovirus infections
The food transmission of these infectious agents leads to about 1.5 million cases of food poisoning (between 1.28 and 2.23 million), 17,000 hospitalizations (between 15,800 and 21,200) and more than 200 deaths (between 232 and 358), according to this study. A level of intoxication and mortality that "remains high" according to the authors of the study.
The study was also interested in the germs that are responsible for these food poisoning. In France, the majority of infections (more than 70%) are caused by viruses (mainly noroviruses and hepatitis A and E viruses) and bacteria represent only 18% of infections (mainly Campylobacter and Salmonella) ; the parasites complete the picture (Tenia and Toxoplasmosis).
Hospitalizations: importance of bacteria
On the other hand, if we look at hospitalizations for foodborne infection, we can see that while viruses remain predominant (57%, especially with Noroviruses), the percentage of involvement of bacteria increases sharply with 33% (Campylobacter and salmonella).
Mortality: predominance of Salmonella
Finally, if we look at mortality, bacteria hold the upper hand with 182 deaths and 2 bacteria represent the majority of cases. On the one hand, "non-typhus" Salmonella (n = 62) and Listeria (n = 47). Listeria monocytogenes, which represents less than 0.1% of intoxications, ranks second in terms of mortality (65 deaths, 25% of the total number of deaths), just behind salmonella (26% of the total), report the authors.
Viruses are responsible for 91 deaths (mainly Norovirus but also hepatitis A and E) especially in children.
Repetitive Poisoning and Risk of Inflammatory Disease
According to a recent study published by the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Disease Institute in the journal Science, repetitive infections could cause chronic inflammatory bowel or colon disease. The study lasted nearly eight years. The researchers developed a model of human food poisoning in healthy mice.
Each mouse received a dose of Salmonella bacteria, which is responsible for salmonellosis, one of the major food-borne infectious diseases. The dose of salmonella was very low, and without life-threatening, but inflammation appeared and increased in all mice over the course of repeated poisoning. The researchers also found that even by stopping the cause of these infections, the inflammation did not disappear. The damage was done. The inflammatory disease of the colon and intestine was launched.
Prevention of food poisoning
The Lactalis case shows that we can not always protect ourselves against salmonella foodborne infections, but nevertheless, we can reduce the risk of infections while respecting the cold chain. The meat must be cooked for at least 5 to 6 minutes until an internal temperature of over 65 ° C is reached.
To protect against listeriosis, vegetables and aromatic herbs should be washed well and food should be cooked until an internal temperature of over 65 ° C is reached. Pregnant women should also avoid foods frequently contaminated with Listeria such as raw milk cheeses, especially soft cheeses, cheese crusts in general, smoked fish, raw shellfish and cold cuts.
Noroviruses are resistant to cold and temperature (30 min at 60 ° C) and are found in food contaminated by an infected person and shellfish ... that should be avoided if they do not come from a Authorized and controlled breeding area
This very high frequency of bacterial food poisoning, with the weight of Salmonella infections, is a real public health problem in the short term, but also in the long term.