The Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) FoodNet Canada surveillance system (no, not that one, right, that’s the Canadian television network that wanted to sue me over video associated with 2004’s cooking show paper) is pleased to present this tables and figures report which provides the annual results of our surveillance activities conducted in 2019. The report is based on findings from its sentinel sites in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. It also provides preliminary findings from Quebec, representing a partial year due to their implementation part way through the year in July 2019. The report focuses on trends in enteric pathogen disease rates, as well as trends in the prevalence of these pathogens found on potential disease sources: retail meats, manure from food producing animals and water. It is our hope that this report will be used to inform and shape discussions on food safety issues regarding enteric diseases and their sources.
- In 2019, Campylobacter and Salmonella remained the most common causes of human enteric illness in the FoodNet Canada sentinel sites.
- Travel continues to be an important factor in the burden of enteric disease. In 2019, approximately 30% of all cases of enteric disease were associated with travel outside of Canada.
- Exposure to retail meat products remains a potential source of infection for human enteric illness. However, decreases in the prevalence of certain pathogen-food combinations were observed in 2019. For example, Salmonella on frozen breaded chicken products significantly decreased in 2019 compared to 2018 and is likely associated with interventions implemented at the industry level in 2019.
- Other exposures, such as the farm environment and water, are also possible sources of infection for human enteric illness, with differences noted between the sites. For example, Salmonella is commonly found in broiler chicken manure, however, the prevalence significantly increased in BC whereas it significantly decreased in the AB site in 2019, resulting in an overall significant decrease in the combined sites.
- The majority of clinical cases of shigatoxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) were domestically acquired in 2019, with a significant increase in both travel and endemic incidence rates, which is primarily driven by the AB sentinel site who test all STEC-confirmed stool samples for non-O157 serogroups.
- In 2019, surface water sampling was initiated for the first time in the ON site for STEC testing. The prevalence of STEC in the ON site (27%) was similar to the combined BC and AB irrigation water prevalence in 2019 (28%). · Continued monitoring of human illness and the potential exposures is important to ensure the continued health and safety of Canadians. The collection and integration of information across all of FoodNet Canada surveillance components (human, retail, on-farm, and water) in an enhanced and standardized way allows for the analysis of subtype distributions among human cases and potential exposure sources over time. This report will be followed by a comprehensive annual report, which will include more extensive analyses of temporal trends and subtyping information for an integrated perspective on enteric disease from exposure to illness.