Presence of animal feeding operations and community socioeconomic factors impact salmonellosis incidence rates: An ecological analysis using data from the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), 2004–2010

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Nontyphoidal Salmonella spp. are a leading cause of foodborne illness. Risk factors for salmonellosis include the consumption of contaminated chicken, eggs, pork and beef. Agricultural, environmental and socioeconomic factors also have been associated with rates of Salmonella infection. However, to our knowledge, these factors have not been modeled together at the community-level to improve our understanding of whether rates of salmonellosis are variable across communities defined by differing factors. To address this knowledge gap, we obtained data on culture-confirmed Salmonella Typhimurium, S. Enteritidis, S. Newport and S. Javiana cases (2004–2010; n=14,297) from the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), and socioeconomic, environmental and agricultural data from the 2010 Census of Population and Housing, the 2011 American Community Survey, and the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture. We linked data by zip code and derived incidence rate ratios using negative binomial regressions. Multiple community-level factors were associated with salmonellosis rates; however, our findings varied by state. For example, in Georgia (Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR)=1.01; 95% Confidence Interval (CI)=1.005–1.015) Maryland (IRR=1.01; 95% CI=1.003–1.015) and Tennessee (IRR=1.01; 95% CI=1.002–1.012), zip codes characterized by greater rurality had higher rates of S. Newport infections. The presence of broiler chicken operations, dairy operations and cattle operations in a zip code also was associated with significantly higher rates of infection with at least one serotype in states that are leading producers of these animal products. For instance, in Georgia and Tennessee, rates of S. Enteritidis infection were 48% (IRR=1.48; 95% CI=1.12–1.95) and 46% (IRR=1.46; 95% CI=1.17–1.81) higher in zip codes with broiler chicken operations compared to those without these operations. In Maryland, New Mexico and Tennessee, higher poverty levels in zip codes were associated with higher rates of infection with one or more Salmonella serotypes. In Georgia and Tennessee, zip codes with higher percentages of the population composed of African Americans had significantly higher rates of infection with one or more Salmonella serotypes. In summary, our findings show that community-level agricultural, environmental and socioeconomic factors may be important with regard to rates of infection with Salmonella Typhimurium, Enteritidis, Newport and Javiana.

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