Table: Stomach Pains

Millions of Americans are infected with food-borne diseases every year. Typical symptoms include diarrhea, cramps, and fever. An estimated 5,000 people--less than 1%--die, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The majority of food-transmitted illnesses are caused by unknown pathogens.

Of 200 known food-borne diseases, the three most damaging are:

TOTAL HOSPITAL- AGENT CASES IZATIONS DEATHS ORIGINS AND PREVENTION

E. COLI 73,480 2,168 61 Bacteria typically found O157:H7 in undercooked ground beef. strain Avoid hamburger that is pink in the middle.

LISTERIA 2,500 2,322 504 Bacteria found in soil and water, easily transferred to vegetables, dairy, and meat. Thoroughly cook meats. Wash raw vegetables.

SALMONELLA 1,412,500 16,430 582 Feces-borne bacteria asso- ciated with eggs and under- cooked chicken. Wash hands before handling food. Cook chicken well.

Data: Annual estimates, extrapolated from CDC data, 1992-97

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