No, there is no better or more up-to-date source of information on deaths. Making these estimates is a complex process that uses multiple data sources and statistical methods... I'll give you one example of many possible examples of why it is so complex. Salmonella, to choose one of more than 30 infections that can be foodborne, can come from many sources, including food, water, direct animal contact or transmission directly from another person. If a person dies of Salmonella infection, there is usually no way to know whether they got their infection from contaminated food or from another source. Only if they are part of an outbreak for which a source is determined (usually <5% of cases of Salmonella infection) would it be possible to know where that particular infection came from. Otherwise, it might or might not have been foodborne. Also, people could die of Salmonella without it ever being diagnosed. So, to estimate the true number of Salmonella deaths due to food, it is necessary to take all of this into account, which requires looking at many different kinds of data from multiple sources and using appropriate statistical techniques to adjust for the various sources of infection and for under-diagnosis and under-reporting... Barbara Mahon, MD, MPH Team Lead, FoodNet and Outbreak Surveillance Team CDC/NCZVED/DFBMD/EDEB -----Original Message----- From: Gardner Selby [mailto:wgselby@statesman.com] Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 1:38 PM To: Mahon, Barbara (CDC/OID/NCZVED) Subject: Re: URGENT Newspaper Inquiry for PolitiFact Texas Is there another authoritative tracker of such deaths? W. Gardner Selby Editor, PolitiFact Texas Austin American-Statesman 512-445-3644 On 9/21/2010 11:47 AM, Mahon, Barbara (CDC/OID/NCZVED) wrote: > > Dear Mr. Selby, > > > > CDC is working on developing new estimates, but they are not available > > yet. At this point, the 1999 estimate of 5000 deaths per year is the > > best number to use. > > > > Best regards, > > > > Barbara Mahon > > > > > > Barbara Mahon, MD, MPH > > Team Lead, FoodNet and Outbreak Surveillance Team > > CDC/NCZVED/DFBMD/EDE > -----Original Message----- > > From: Gardner Selby [mailto:wgselby@statesman.com] > > Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 12:43 PM > > To: Mahon, Barbara (CDC/OID/NCZVED) > > Cc: Mead, Paul (CDC/OID/NCZVED) > > Subject: Re: URGENT Newspaper Inquiry for PolitiFact Texas > > > > > > Realizing the US population has grown and perhaps other factors are at > > play too, is a 1999 number really the latest reliable figure for US > deaths from food-borne illnesses? Seems so old. > > Guidance to a more recent count? > > W. Gardner Selby > Editor, PolitiFact Texas > Austin American-Statesman > > 512-445-3644 > > > On 9/20/2010 5:55 PM, Mahon, Barbara (CDC/OID/NCZVED) wrote: > >> Dear Mr. Selby, > >> > >> The most recent estimate of the number of deaths due to foodborne > >> diseases is the one published by Dr. Mead and colleagues in 1999. I > >> gather that you have already seen his paper, but the number he > estimated > >> is 5000 deaths per year. That would be the best number to use for > your >> article. >> >> Best regards, >> >> Barbara Mahon >> Team Lead, FoodNet and Outbreak Surveillance Team >> CDC >>