Foodborne illness can cause very serious acute illness and secondary long-term health outcomes. For example, having a Salmonella infection is one of the leading predictors for developing reactive arthritis, a painful, chronic and potentially debilitating condition that causes joint inflammation. Campylobacter is a leading cause of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes paralysis and kills five to ten percent of its victims.  Listeria monocytogenes kills more than 1/3 of its perinatal victims and 20% of all its victims, making it one of the most lethal foodborne pathogens.  E. coli O157:H7 and other shiga-toxin producing foodborne pathogens are almost the exclusive cause of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), the leading cause of acute kidney failure in children under five years of age in the United States. One-third of HUS survivors will suffer life-long medical problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney failure and brain damage.


Many people are unaware of these potential complications, which is why CFI recently issued a report summarizing what is currently known about the long-term health outcomes of selected foodborne pathogens.  But, there is still a lot we don’t know.  More research is needed to understand the long-term burden of foodborne illness.


Partnership for Food Safety Education Webinar: March 21, 2018


"Health at Risk” Long-Term Health Effects of a Foodborne Illness power point


CFI 2009 Report: Long-Term Health Outcomes (LTHO) of Selected Foodborne Pathogens 2009