Guelph Food Safety Seminar (GFSS) Seminar - Estimated Reduction in the Burden of non-typhoidal Salmonella Illness in Canada circa 2019

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Estimated Reduction in the Burden of non-typhoidal Salmonella Illness in Canada circa 2019


Brendan Dougherty, Acting Senior Epidemiologist, Public Health Agency of Canada


Non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) is a leading cause of acute gastrointestinal illness in Canada, and reported cases have been on the rise since the early 2000s. To address this trend, agri-food industry partners and government have worked to identify and implement interventions, guided by the enhanced information provided by whole genome sequencing, to reduce the incidence of NTS. A substantial reduction in the number of NTS cases reported occurred in 2019. Due to underreporting and under-diagnosis factors, the observed decrease in the number of reported cases represents a fraction of the true number of illnesses averted in the community. The objective of this study was to: 1.) use burden of illness estimation methodologies to estimate the true number of NTS illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths prevented, and 2.) estimate the economic savings associated with the prevention of these cases. Compared to the previous five years, there were an estimated 25,821 fewer illnesses, 213 fewer hospitalizations, and 2 fewer deaths attributable to NTS in 2019. This corresponds to an estimated reduction of 26.9 million Canadian dollars in the economic burden of NTS. Although causality cannot be proven by this study, the findings are suggestive that the strategically implemented suite of public health actions, including genomics-based surveillance, policy changes, and interventions by government and industry were successful in reducing the economic and health burden of NTS infections in Canada.


Brendan Dougherty is an acting senior epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency of Canada. He works in the Centre for Food-borne, Environmental & Zoonotic Infectious Diseases where he works on a range of projects including developing burden of illness estimates for enteric illnesses and developing interactive data visualizations. Brendan has recently returned from spending two years supporting the Public Health Agency of Canada’s COVID-19 Disease Modelling Group, where he tracked and analyzed public health measures implemented by provinces, territories, and countries to mitigate the harms of COVID-19. In addition, he is also a PhD candidate in the Department of Population Medicine at the University of Guelph, where his thesis investigates antimicrobial use and resistance in enteric illnesses in Canada.

The Guelph Food Safety Seminars: A partnership in agri-food safety

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