Foodborne Illnesses / Campylobacter /

The Economic Impact of Campylobacter Infections

What are the estimated yearly medical costs and productivity losses due to Campylobacter infection?

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 Campylobacter infections caused each year ran from $907 million to over $1 billion, based on an estimate of 2.1 million cases and between 120-360 deaths. [15]

Using a different kind of economic analysis, this same 1996 study estimated that the average cost of each Campylobacter infection to be $920, with this estimate based on a much lower incidence and death rate. [15]

In 1996, ERS updated the cost-estimates for six bacterial pathogens, including Campylobacter. [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 55-70 percent of all estimated human illness cases of Campylobacter in the United States are foodborne (1,375,000 to 1,750,000 cases). Estimates of those who do not visit a physician range from 1,293,765 to 1,646,239 cases annually. A low of 74,250 and a high of 94,500 visit a physician. The number of hospitalized cases (including those who died) ranges from 6,985 to 9,261. Foodborne deaths caused by Campylobacter range from 110 to 511 annually. Given our assumption that 55-70 percent of all U.S. Campylobacteriosis cases are attributed to food, estimated costs of foodborne Campylobacteriosis range from $0.6-$1.0 billion 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. [8]