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Yearly food-borne illness estimates for Canada

Find information on the number of Canadians affected by food-borne illness every year.

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Overall estimates of Canadians affected by food-borne illness

The most recent average yearly estimates for food-borne illness due to known and unknown causes are:

  • 30 food-borne bacteria, parasites and viruses:
    • 1.6 million illnesses (40% of food-borne illnesses)
    • 4,000 hospitalizations (34% of food-borne hospitalizations)
    • 105 deaths (44% of food-borne deaths)
  • unknown causes:
    • 2.4 million illnesses (60%)
    • 7,600 hospitalizations (66%)
    • 133 deaths (56%)

This means that every year, a total of about 4 million (1 in 8) Canadians are affected by a food-borne illness. Of these, there are about:

  • 11,600 hospitalizations
  • 238 deaths

Estimates of illness caused by food-borne bacteria, parasites and viruses

Some bacteria, parasites and viruses are responsible for the most illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths in Canada. Yearly estimates for the most common causes are broken down below.

Number of illnesses

Number of hospitalizations

  • norovirus (1,180 or 30% of known causes of food-borne hospitalizations)
  • Salmonella spp., non-typhoidal (925 or 24%)
  • Campylobacter spp. (565 or 14%)
  • Escherichia coli 0157 (245 or 6%)

Number of deaths

  • Listeria monocytogenes (35 or 33% of known causes of food-borne deaths)
  • norovirus (21 or 20%)
  • Salmonella spp., non-typhoidal (17 or 16%)
  • Escherichia coli 0157 (8 or 8%)
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