Estimating the global burden of foodborne diseases by jog13800


									                                                    Estimating the global burden of foodborne diseases

                                                          Why estimate the burden?
                                                    Foodborne diseases threaten international public                      Initiative to Estimate the Global Burden of
                                                    health security. As trade, travel and migration                       Foodborne Diseases, that would provide a
                                                    increase, so too does the spread across borders                       strategic framework to estimate the global
                                                    of dangerous pathogens and contaminants in                            burden of foodborne disease.
                                                    food. Diarrhoeal diseases alone – a considerable
                                                    proportion of which is foodborne – kill                               The objectives of the Initiative are to:
                                                    2.2 million people globally every year. Most of                       • strengthen county capacity for conducting
                                                    these diarrhoeal deaths occur in poor countries                         burden of foodborne disease assessments
                                                    and jeopardize international development efforts                        in parellel with food safety policy analyses,
                                                    (such as the achievement of the Millennium                              and thereby increase the number of
                                                    Development Goals).                                                     countries under-taking such studies;
                                                    Foodborne diseases are, nevertheless, not limited                     • provide estimates on the global burden of
                                                    to developing countries: they affect everyone,                          foodborne diseases according to age, sex
                                                    everywhere.                                                             and regions for a defined list of causative
                                                    The full extent of the burden and cost of unsafe                        agents of microbial, parasitic, and chemical
                                                    food, however, is currently unknown. Precise in-                        origin;
                                                    formation on the burden of disease is needed to                       • increase awareness and commitment
                                                    guide food safety policy, including the develop-                        among Member States for the
                                                    ment and implementation of food safety standards                        implementation of food safety policy and
                                                    in the context of the Codex Alimentarius Commis-                        standards;
                                                    sion, and provide a baseline for monitoring and
                                                    impact assessment of food safety measures.                            • encourage countries to use burden of
                                                                                                                            foodborne disease estimates for cost-
                                                    In 2007, and in recognition of the growing threat                       effective analyses of prevention,
                                                    posed by foodborne diseases worldwide, over 50                          intervention and control measures.
                                                    developed and developing countries, at a high-

                                                    level international forum, adopted the Beijing Dec-
                                                    laration on Food Safety. The Declaration urges all
                                                    countries to base their food safety measures on                            Activities
                                                    sound scientific evidence and risk analysis.
                                                                                                                          In order to meet the above objectives, the
                                                                                                                          Initiative uses two main tracks:

                                                          What is WHO doing?                                              Track 1) A multi-disciplinary group of inter-
                                                                                                                          nationally renowned scientists – the Food-
                                                    In 2006, together with multiple partners, WHO’s                       borne Disease Burden Epidemiology
                                                    Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses (FOS)                          Reference Group (FERG) has been
                                                                                                                          established to:

                                                    held an international consultation to launch the

                                                     The mission of the WHO Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses is to lower the burden of disease from food and
                                                     animals, focusing on industrialized and traditional production systems, and integrating prevention from farm to table.
                                                     This work includes the provision of scientific advice, efficient standard setting, and clear communication in support of
                                                     foodborne and zoonotic disease prevention and international efforts to food-related outbreak detection and response.
              conduct epidemiological reviews for mortality,
              morbidity and disability in each of the major foodborne
              assemble, appraise and report on existing burden of
              foodborne disease estimates, where data is lacking;
              provide models for the estimation of foodborne disease
              develop source attribution models to estimate the
              proportion of disease that is foodborne;
              develop user-friendly tools for burden of foodborne
              disease studies and policy situation analyses at
              country level.
              Track 2) Implemented during 2009, the second track of
              the Initiative focuses on burden of foodborne disease
              studies at country level. These studies provide first hand
              burden estimates and supplement FERG's epidemiologi-
              cal reviews.
     This Initiative responds to a call from international partners for WHO to coordinate and lead the burden assess-
     ment, and reflects WHO's implementation of the WHO Global Strategy for Food Safety, as endorsed by the
     Executive Board in January 2002. It incorporates all principles and goals of the WHO Strategy on Research for
     Health, presented to the Bamako ministerial forum in November 2008.

       Expected results
 •     Global report and global atlas of the burden of all relevant enteric, parasitic and chemically caused
       foodborne diseases by 2013.
 •     A peer-reviewed paper series in a high-impact journal with at least 50% of contributing authors from
       developing countries.
 •     Foodborne disease burden and policy situation analyses country studies (in each of the six WHO
       Achievements to date
 •     Development of the Global Strategy to Estimate the Global Burden of Foodborne Diseases,
       including a communications strategy and a monitoring and evaluation framework.
 •     Appointment of a multi-disciplinary Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group
       (FERG), which serves as an external, technical advisory body to the Initiative.
 •     Preliminary burden of disease results published in October 2009 on diarrhoeal diseases in persons
       older than 5 years of age, and selected parasitic diseases and peanut allergies.
 •     Institutionalization of interactions and exchanges with the stakeholder community (governments,
       industry, donors, consumers, media) to ensure that the Initiative's results are meaningful and of
       practical use to all food safety constituencies.

        Planned activities for 2010-2011:
– Technical meetings of the FERG Task Forces to advance the burden work in the following areas: parasitic
  and enteric diseases, chemicals and natural toxins, source attribution, and country burden assessment
     • Annual Foodborne Diseases Stakeholder Meeting
     • Pilot country burden of foodborne disease studies
     • Pilot policy situation analyses
     • Commissioning of systematic reviews and major research studies

 WHO Contacts
 Dr Jørgen Schlundt                                           Dr Claudia Stein
 Director                                                     Medical Officer
 Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses                       Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses
 World Health Organization                                    World Health Organization
 20, Avenue Appia, CH-1211 Geneva 27                          20, Avenue Appia, CH-1211 Geneva 27
 Switzerland                                                  Switzerland
 Tel: +41 22 791 34 45 (Operator: 21 11)                      Tel: +41 22 791 32 34
 Fax: +41 22 791 48 07                                        Fax: +41 22 791 48 07
 E-mail:                                    E-mail:

Revision 19 January 2010

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