Population-based incidence of infection with selected bacterial enteric pathogens in children younger than five years of age, 1996-1998

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Feb;25(2):129-34. doi: 10.1097/01.inf.0000199289.62733.d5.


Background: Previous studies of bacterial enteric infections have suggested a disproportionate disease burden for children younger than 5 years of age.

Objectives: This study describes population-based incidence of culture-confirmed infections with 6 bacterial enteric pathogens in children younger than 5 years of age in the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), 1996-1998.

Methods: Cases were ascertained through active laboratory-based surveillance in Minnesota, Oregon and selected counties in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland and New York.

Results: Twenty-one percent (5218 of 24,358) of infections were in children younger than 5 years of age, but this age group made up only 7% of the total person-years of observation. Among those younger than 5 years of age, the incidence (cases per 100,000 person-years) for each pathogen was: Salmonella, 55.3; Campylobacter, 43.4; Shigella, 32.7; E. coli O157, 10.3; Yersinia enterocolitica, 7.1; Listeria monocytogenes, 0.7. Incidence varied widely among the 7 FoodNet sites.

Conclusions: This study confirmed a disproportionate disease burden in young children. Investigation of risk factors specific to this age group and review and enhancement of current prevention and control strategies for children younger than 5 years of age may reduce illness.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections / epidemiology*
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Campylobacter
  • Child, Preschool
  • Gastroenteritis / epidemiology*
  • Gastroenteritis / microbiology
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Listeria monocytogenes / isolation & purification
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Risk Factors
  • Seasons