Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(8), 3684-3714; doi:10.3390/ijerph10083684

Reporting of Foodborne Illness by U.S. Consumers and Healthcare Professionals

1 Department of Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA 2 Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, Des Moines, IA 50319, USA These authors contributed equally to this work.
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 June 2013; in revised form: 7 August 2013 / Accepted: 8 August 2013 / Published: 19 August 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Safety and Public Health)
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Abstract: During 2009–2010, a total of 1,527 foodborne disease outbreaks were reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2013). However, in a 2011 CDC report, Scallan et al. estimated about 48 million people contract a foodborne illness annually in the United States. Public health officials are concerned with this under-reporting; thus, the purpose of this study was to identify why consumers and healthcare professionals don’t report foodborne illness. Focus groups were conducted with 35 consumers who reported a previous experience with foodborne illness and with 16 healthcare professionals. Also, interviews with other healthcare professionals with responsibility of diagnosing foodborne illness were conducted. Not knowing who to contact, being too ill, being unsure of the cause, and believing reporting would not be beneficial were all identified by consumers as reasons for not reporting foodborne illness. Healthcare professionals that participated in the focus groups indicated the amount of time between patients’ consumption of food and seeking treatment and lack of knowledge were barriers to diagnosing foodborne illness. Issues related to stool samples such as knowledge, access and cost were noted by both groups. Results suggest that barriers identified could be overcome with targeted education and improved access and information about the reporting process.
Keywords: foodborne illness; diagnosis; healthcare professional; consumer

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MDPI and ACS Style

Arendt, S.; Rajagopal, L.; Strohbehn, C.; Stokes, N.; Meyer, J.; Mandernach, S. Reporting of Foodborne Illness by U.S. Consumers and Healthcare Professionals. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 3684-3714.

AMA Style

Arendt S, Rajagopal L, Strohbehn C, Stokes N, Meyer J, Mandernach S. Reporting of Foodborne Illness by U.S. Consumers and Healthcare Professionals. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2013; 10(8):3684-3714.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Arendt, Susan; Rajagopal, Lakshman; Strohbehn, Catherine; Stokes, Nathan; Meyer, Janell; Mandernach, Steven. 2013. "Reporting of Foodborne Illness by U.S. Consumers and Healthcare Professionals." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 10, no. 8: 3684-3714.

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