So where in the world is all the food poisoning?

The following is a summary of a recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) – Estimates of the Global Burden of Foodborne Diseases.

  • Children under five account for 30 percent of the deaths from foodborne disease
  • 96000 children die each year from food borne illness involving diarrhoea
  • 600 million people become ill each year from eating contaminated food
  • Diarrhoea is involved in more than half of food poisonings, including 230000 deaths each year
  • Salmonella affects people in high and low income countries
  • Foodborne Cholera, Typhoid and E.coli are common in low income countries
  • Campylobacter is more commonly associated with high income countries
  • One person in 10 worldwide will become ill from contaminated food
  • 420000 deaths each year from contaminated food
  • In the African region – has the highest amount of food borne illness per population with more than 91 million people falling ill and 137000 deaths. Non-typhoidal Salmonella is the main cause with 32000 deaths – more than half of the total world deaths from this disease. Non bacterial food borne illness, like cyanide and aflatoxin cause one quarter of the food borne disease deaths.
  • In the Americas region – 77 million cases makes it the second lowest in the world. There are an estimated 9000 deaths each year – of which 2000 are children. Norovirus, Non-typhoidal Salmonella, Campylobacter and E.coli account for 95 percent of cases. In Central and South America there are specific issues with pork tapeworm.
  • In the Western Pacific region – 125 million people are affected by contaminated food and there are 50000 deaths, of which 7000 are children. It is aflatoxin which is the biggest issue in this region with around 70 percent of the total number of cases for the world. Chinese liver fluke is the single biggest issue with 30000 people      infected, nearly 100 percent of all world cases, and death in one in five cases.
  • In the South East Asia region – the second highest amount of food borne disease per population but the highest number of deaths at 175000, of which 50000 are children. E.coli, Norovirus and non -typhoidal Salmonella are the main causes. The number of cases of Hepatitis A and Typhoid in this region account for half of the worldwide      cases.
  • In the European region – the lowest amount of food borne disease with more than 23 million cases and 5000 deaths. Norovirus and Campylobacter are the main causes with nearly 20 million cases. However it is non-typhoidal Salmonella which cause the most deaths at nearly 2000 each year. Listeria causes around 400 deaths annually.



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