New information about pediatric foodborne infections: the view from FoodNet

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Purpose of reviewDiarrheal illness is a significant burden to children and their parents. Recent studies describing the etiologic agents that cause diarrheal illness and examining the risk factors for the most common bacterial enteric pathogens are presented.Recent findingsThe most common bacterial causes of diarrheal illness among children are Campylobacter spp., Salmonella spp., Shigella spp. and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli. The highest incidence of both Campylobacter and Salmonella is among infants. Risk factors for campylobacteriosis in this group include traveling outside the US, having a pet in the home with diarrhea and visiting or living on a farm. Risk factors for salmonellosis include traveling outside the US, exposure to reptiles and attending day-care with another child with diarrhea. Breastfeeding is a factor that protects against infection.SummaryDespite a limited diet, infants are at risk of acquiring enteric pathogens that are commonly associated with consumption of contaminated food. Exposure to these pathogens may be through cross-contamination in the home or the environment. Educational measures that focus on improving prevention of exposure to infectious agents and an emphasis on eliminating cross-contamination are needed for parents and care-takers of this vulnerable population.

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