Millions Succumb to Foodborne Diseases: WHO Report

Millions Succumb to Foodborne Diseases: WHO Report

Authored by DesiMD Doctor on 8 Dec 2015 - 14:05


According to WHO prepared report (with inputs from 100 experts worldwide), that was published in PLOS One, the sickness of about 10% of the world's population i.e., 600 million people is attributed to contaminated food. Experts claim that there are 31 chief agents that cause foodborne diseases and they include bacteria, parasites, viruses, toxins and chemicals.

Diarrhoea accounts for more than 50% of these diseases, caused by norovirus, Campylobacter, non-typhoidal Salmonella and pathogenic E. coli. These are often found active in raw or undercooked meat, eggs and dairy products. Other major diseases include Typhoid fever, Hepatitis A, Taenia solium (a tapeworm found in pork) and aflatoxin. Although these diseases are quite prevalent in high-income countries, it is the low-income countries that are mostly affected with multiple fatalities.


  • Short-term – nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Long-term - cancer, kidney or liver failure, brain and neural disorders

These diseases mostly affect children, pregnant women and the elderly or those whose immune system is weak. Kids surviving serious diseases often suffer from delayed physical and mental development and this has a permanent impact on the quality of their life.

Research Findings: Agents posing the greatest risk include Norovirus, Campylobacter, E. Coli and non-typhoidal Salmonella, toxoplasmosis and the pork tapeworm, spread by means of undercooked or raw meat, often resulting in impaired vision and neurological conditions.

Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the WHO said that this report had revealed the major causative foodborne pathogens. In order to improve food safety in the global marketplace, the authors feel that it is important to educate and create more awareness amongst food producers, suppliers, handlers and the general public.


Reference: PLOS One


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