In-depth WHO report reveals worldwide foodborne diseases incidence, stating that an alarming number of deaths due to the diseases are registered with children under 5 years old.
The World Health Organization (WHO) report, titled Estimates of the global burden of foodborne diseases, compiles 10 years of data across all regions of the world. Foodborne diseases are a common occurrence worldwide. Unfortunately, children under 5 years old represent the highest risk category, with 30 percent of all deaths related to foodborne diseases being registered in this age group. However, children under 5 years old only represent nine percent of the world’s population.
The WHO report is the most comprehensive and in-depth to date, taking a close look at food, contaminated food and the global population’s well-being. The numerous scientific inputs in the WHO report estimate that a number of 31 agents are involved in foodborne diseases globally. Among them, chemicals, toxins, bacteria, parasites and viruses are analyzed thoroughly in terms of impact.
Foodborne diseases affect 1 in 10 people worldwide on an annual basis. This translates in 600 million people falling ill each year due to contaminated food. The WHO report points out that of these, 420,000 people die yearly due to contaminated food. Of them 125,000 children under 5 years old are certain victims.
The aim of the comprehensive report is to bring to light the real cost of contaminated food worldwide, measured not economically, but in human lives. Doctor Margaret Chan, who is the Director General of the World Health Organization stated that:
“Knowing which foodborne pathogens are causing the biggest problems in which parts of the world can generate targeted action by the public, the governments and the food industry”.
According to Mrs. Chan, safe food is a shared global responsibility just as foodborne diseases are a public health concern at the global level.
In-depth WHO report reveals worldwide foodborne diseases incidence, while at the same time breaking down each WHO region and taking a closer look at the specifics. As per the findings of the comprehensive report, the South-East Asia regions in addition to the African region pay the highest price in relation to foodborne diseases and foodborne pathogens. Here, the WHO report mentions both the highest mortality rates stemming from the highest incidence rates.
While low income regions seem to be the most affected by foodborne diseases, high income regions are just as unsafe when it comes to certain diseases and food pathogens. For instance, the WHO report cites non-typhoidal Salmonella which affects low-income and high-income states just the same.
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