About Salmonella

From the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks.

Chapter 10

The Economic Impact of Salmonella Infections

Salmonella causes billions of dollars in medical costs and lost productivity every year.

The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) published its first comprehensive cost estimates for sixteen foodborne bacterial pathogens in 1989. [24] Five years later, it was estimated that the medical costs and productivity losses that Salmonella infections caused each year ran from $1.188 billion to over $11.588 billion, based on an estimate of 1.92 million cases and between 960-1,920 deaths. [21]

In 1996, ERS updated the cost-estimates for six bacterial pathogens, including Salmonella. [28] ERS continued to use cost-of-illness (COI) methodology for nonfatal illnesses, but adopted two different health valuation methodologies for premature deaths: the individualized human capital approach and the willingness-to-pay (WTP) approach. This report concluded as follows:

We assumed that each of the 800-4,000 salmonellosis cases who die prematurely because of their illness incurred the same amount of medical costs as a salmonellosis patient who was hospitalized and survived ($9,087). We estimated medical costs for those who die from salmonellosis to range between $7.3 million and $36.3 million annually.

ERS updated the cost-estimates for four pathogens (Campylobacter, Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes) again in 2000. The 2000 estimates were based on newly released estimates of annual foodborne illnesses by the CDC, and put the total cost in the United States for these four pathogens at $6.5 billion a year. More recently, in 2007, it was estimated that the annual costs of all foodborne disease in the United States was $1.4 trillion. [27]

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