Declaring that foodborne
illness is a serious public health problem, the American Medical Association
(AMA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), and the USDA's Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS)
today released a new physician/patient information kit.
"Diagnosis and Management of Foodborne Illness, A Primer for Physicians,"
is designed to update physicians, nurses and other medical personnel. It also
contains concise patient information for physicians to distribute. More than
15,000 kits are available free to physicians, and the information is also
available on line at http://www.ama-assn.org/foodborne .
"There are an estimated 76 million cases of foodborne illness each year,
resulting in more than 5,000 deaths and 325,000 hospitalizations annually in
the United States," said Art Liang, MD, CDC's assistant director for foodborne
"While many foodborne illnesses, such as typhoid and cholera have faded,
new and re-emerging ones have taken their place," said AMA Trustee J. Edward
Hill, MD. "We didn't even know Cyclospora, resistant Salmonella, and some
strains of E. coli existed when many of today's practicing physicians were in
medical school. Physicians are now hungry for good information on recognizing
and treating food-related diseases. This information kit gives them the
information they want and need."
"The kit also contains concise, easy-to-understand patient information for
physicians to distribute to their patients," said Joseph A. Levitt, director
of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. It details
four safe-food handling tips everyone should follow, as well as a chart of
recommended cooking temperatures for various foods. This information is a
critical component of foodborne illness prevention."
"Food safety is everyone's responsibility," said FSIS Associate
Administrator Margaret Glavin. "Physicians can play an enormous role in
educating their patients -- especially their at-risk populations -- about
preventing foodborne illness."
Young children, pregnant women, older adults, and those with weakened
immune systems are at a higher risk for foodborne illness. Immune systems may
be weakened by medical treatments, such as steroids or chemotherapy, or by
conditions, such as AIDS, cancer or diabetes. Those suffering from liver
disease, alcoholism, or increased stomach acidity due to gastric surgery or
regular use of antacids are also at increased risk.
The entire primer, including the patient tips, and more information about
foodborne illness can be found at the AMA's website at