Population-Based Incidence of Infection With Selected Bacterial Enteric Pathogens in Children Younger Than Five Years of Age, 1996–1998

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Previous studies of bacterial enteric infections have suggested a disproportionate disease burden for children younger than 5 years of age.


This study describes population-based incidence of culture-confirmed infections with 6 bacterial enteric pathogens in children younger than 5 years of age in the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), 1996–1998.


Cases were ascertained through active laboratory-based surveillance in Minnesota, Oregon and selected counties in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland and New York.


Twenty-one percent (5218 of 24,358) of infections were in children younger than 5 years of age, but this age group made up only 7% of the total person-years of observation. Among those younger than 5 years of age, the incidence (cases per 100,000 person-years) for each pathogen was: Salmonella, 55.3; Campylobacter, 43.4; Shigella, 32.7; E. coli O157, 10.3; Yersinia enterocolitica, 7.1; Listeria monocytogenes, 0.7. Incidence varied widely among the 7 FoodNet sites.


This study confirmed a disproportionate disease burden in young children. Investigation of risk factors specific to this age group and review and enhancement of current prevention and control strategies for children younger than 5 years of age may reduce illness.

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