Disease-outcome trees, EQ-5D scores, and estimated annual losses of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) for 14 foodborne pathogens in the United States.Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2014 May; 11(5):395-402.FP
Measures of disease burden such as quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) are increasingly important to risk-based food safety policy. They provide a means of comparing relative risk from diverse health outcomes. We present detailed disease-outcome trees and EQ-5D scoring for 14 major foodborne pathogens representing over 95% of foodborne illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths due to specified agents in the United States (Campylobacter spp., Clostridium perfringens, Cryptosporidium parvum, Cyclospora cayetanensis, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli non-O157, Listeria monocytogenes, nontyphoidal Salmonella enterica, Shigella, Toxoplasma gondii, Vibrio vulnificus, Vibrio parahaemolyticus and other noncholera Vibrio, and Yersinia enterocolitica). We estimate over 5800 QALYs lost per 1000 cases of L. monocytogenes and V. vulnificus, compared to 125 QALYs lost per 1000 cases of T. gondii, 26 for E. coli O157:H7, 16 for Salmonella and Campylobacter, and 14 for Y. enterocolitica. The remaining 7 pathogens are estimated to cause less than 5 QALYs lost per 1000 cases. In total, these 14 pathogens cause over 61,000 in QALY loss annually, with more than 90% due solely to acute infection being responsible for 65% of total QALY loss, with premature mortality and morbidity due to chronic and congenital illness responsible for another 28%. These estimates of the burden of chronic sequelae are likely conservative; additional epidemiological research is needed to support more accurate burden estimates. This study shows the value of using integrated metrics for comparing disease burden, and the need to consider chronic and congenital illness when prioritizing foodborne pathogens.