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 May 13, 2005
U.S. Cites Decline in Foodborne Illness Rates
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Cases of foodborne infection from E. coli bacteria continued their steady decline last year, falling below government-projected goals that had been set for the year 2010, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.

From 1996-2004, infections from E. coli -- among the most severe foodborne germs -- fell 42 percent, the CDC said in a statement. Salmonella infections fell 8 percent, Campylobacter decreased 31 percent, Cryptosporidium 40 percent, and Yersinia 45 percent.

The agency cited regulations implemented in 2002 to curb illness from E. coli and another bacterium, Listeria, in the nation's food supply.

While CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding called the declines "good news for Americans," foodborne disease "is still a significant cause of illness in the United States," she said in a statement. The incidence of one type of germ, Shigella, did not vary significantly from 1996 through 2004, the agency said.

The CDC said its FoodNet surveillance system, begun in 1996 to track confirmed cases of foodborne illness, now includes 10 states and 44 million people -- about 15 percent of the U.S. population.


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