RIVM logo, National Institute for Public Healthe and the Enviroment. Minsty of Health, Welfare and Sport

Disease burden of food-related pathogens in the Netherlands, 2012

Ziektelast van via voedsel overdraagbare ziekteverwekkers in Nederland in 2012


The Ministry of VWS has requested RIVM to present an annual update on the number of illnesses caused by 14 enteric pathogens. These pathogens can be transmitted by food, the environment, animals and humans. The number of persons who are ill and who die from the infections is expressed in DALYs (Disability Adjusted Life Years), a measure of the disease burden in the population. Furthermore, the cost-of-illness (COI) related to the 14 food-related pathogens were estimated and expressed in euros. The total disease burden caused by the 14 pathogens increased marginally from 13,900 DALY in 2011 to 14,000 DALY in 2012. The share of foodborne transmission in this burden increased from 6,230 to 6,550 DALY. The COI remained stable compared to 2011 at 412 million euro. The share of foodborne transmission was 175 million euro-an increase of 4% compared to 2011.

The increase in disease burden was a result of the outbreak by Salmonella Thompson in smoked salmon. This outbreak (with an estimated 24,000 cases) resulted in a burden of 550 DALYs and a COI of 11 million euro. Note that this estimate does not take into account the economic damage to the firm and retailers nor the costs of NVWA and RIVM in controlling the outbreak. Without this outbreak, the burden estimates would be lower than in 2011 due to a decrease in the incidence of disease by Campylobacter spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Toxoplasma gondii and rotavirus. Furthermore, an increasing trend in norovirus incidence was observed in the period 2001-2012. No explanation for the trend is available.

This research results in more insight in the true incidence of foodborne diseases and the associated disease burden.

Home / Documents and publications / Disease burden of food-related pathogens in the Netherlands, 2012

RIVM Committed to health and sustainability