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Registry of foodborne infections and intoxications in the Netherlands in 2008 at the Health Care Inspectorate and the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, 2008

Registratie voedselinfecties en -vergiftigingen bij de Inspectie voor de Gezondheidszorg en de Voedsel en Waren Autoriteit, 2008

Synopsis

As in 2007, the number of people reported ill due to a foodborne infection remained high in the Netherlands in 2008. The main reason for this was the occurrence of a number of large outbreaks. The most important causative agents of foodborne infections were Salmonella, norovirus, and Campylobacter. Of those people reported ill, most were found to be infected with Salmonella which was also the main reason behind most of the hospital admissions. These are the main conclusions from an analysis made by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) based on the 2008 registration data from the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (VWA) and the Health Care Inspectorate (IGZ). Consumers can acquire a foodborne infection by eating raw or undercooked food and/or through poor hygiene or cross contamination during handling or stocking of food. Continuous attention should be paid to food safety by the government, producers, suppliers, handlers of food, and by consumers. The RIVM has previously developed information material on how to prevent foodborne infections. This information stresses the need for proper hygiene during the handling or stocking of food products. In 2008, the VWA received 585 reports from consumers about foodborne infections. This number is lower than the 621 reports in 2006, but the number of patients involved remained high: 1,723 in 2007 and 1,713 in 2008. This trend was also noted by the IGZ where the mandatory reports from physicians are registered. Here, the number of patients involved and the number of hospitalised patients remained at a high level. The RIVM estimates the actual number of foodborne infections and intoxications to be between 300,000 and 750,000 cases per year. The number of reports is lower because not all infected patients visit their GP or inform the VWA.
 

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