Listeria, Vibrio top list of deadliest foodborne pathogens

In terms of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) lost per illness, Listeria monocytogenes and Vibrio vulnificus far and away top the list of deadliest foodborne pathogens, according to a new study in Foodborne Pathogens and Disease.

University of Florida and US Department of Agriculture researchers studied 14 of the commonest US foodborne pathogens and ranked them by QALYs, which they say “provide a means of comparing relative risk from diverse health outcomes.”

L monocytogenes and V vulnificus both were associated with more than 5,800 QALYs lost per 1,000 cases. That ranked far worse than the next pathogens on the list, with 125 QALYs lost per 1,000 cases for Toxoplasma gondii, 26 for Escherichia coli O157:H7, 16 for both Salmonella and Campylobacter, and 14 for Yersinia enterocolitica.

The remaining seven pathogens were estimated to cause less than 5 QALYs lost per 1,000 cases, the researchers said. The 14 pathogens combined cause more than 61,000 lost QALYs each year, the investigators found, and called their numbers “likely conservative.”




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