Improving Burden of Disease and Source Attribution Estimates

  • Barbara B. KowalcykEmail author
  • Sara M. Pires
  • Elaine Scallan
  • Archana Lamichhane
  • Arie H. Havelaar
  • Brecht Devleesschauwer
Part of the Food Microbiology and Food Safety book series (FMFS)


Disease burden estimates provide the foundation for evidence-informed policy making and are critical to public health priority setting around food safety. Several efforts have recently been undertaken to better quantify the burden of foodborne disease, but there is still much work to be done. While burden estimates are crucial to raising awareness of foodborne diseases, estimating their public health impact, and ranking diseases according to their importance, they may be insufficient for policy making. Knowledge on the most important sources of foodborne disease is key to identifying and prioritizing food safety intervention strategies and preventing and reducing the burden of diseases in a population.

This chapter outlines areas of improvement that would lead to improved estimates including enhancing foodborne disease surveillance infrastructure and improving our understanding of the burden of foodborne chemical exposures and chronic sequelae and provides an overview of attributing the burden of foodborne disease to specific foods.


Burden Foodborne disease Health impact Sequelae Source attribution 





Crohn’s disease


US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Celiac disease


Culture-independent diagnostic test


Disability-adjusted life year


European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control


Environmental enteric dysfunction


European Food Safety Authority


Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli


Extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


Foodborne disease


WHO Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group


Functional gastrointestinal disorders


Foodborne urinary tract infection


Guillain-Barré syndrome


Global Microbial Identifier


Hemolytic uremic syndrome


Inflammatory bowel disease


Inflammatory bowel syndrome


Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives


Long-term health outcomes


Odds ratio


Population attributable fraction


Polymerase chain reaction


Post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome


Quality-adjusted life year


Reactive arthritis


Relative risk


Shiga toxin-producing E. coli


Ulcerative colitis


Urinary tract infection


Whole genome sequencing


World Health Organization


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara B. Kowalcyk
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Sara M. Pires
    • 4
  • Elaine Scallan
    • 5
  • Archana Lamichhane
    • 2
  • Arie H. Havelaar
    • 6
  • Brecht Devleesschauwer
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Food Science and TechnologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.RTI InternationalResearch Triangle ParkUSA
  3. 3.Center for Foodborne Illness Research and PreventionRaleighUSA
  4. 4.National Food InstituteTechnical University of DenmarkLyngbyDenmark
  5. 5.Colorado School of Public HealthUniversity of ColoradoAuroraUSA
  6. 6.Department of Animal Sciences, Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, Emerging Pathogens InstituteUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  7. 7.Department of Public Health and SurveillanceScientific Institute of Public Health (WIV-ISP)BrusselsBelgium

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