In this study, we estimate the burden of foodborne illness (FBI) caused by five major pathogens among nondeployed US Army service members. The US Army is a unique population that is globally distributed, has its own food procurement system and a food protection system dedicated to the prevention of both unintentional and intentional contamination of food. To our knowledge, the burden of FBI caused by specific pathogens among the US Army population has not been determined. We used data from a 2015 US Army population survey, a 2015 US Army laboratory survey and data from FoodNet to create inputs for two model structures. Model type 1 scaled up case counts of Campylobacter jejuni, Shigella spp., Salmonella enterica non-typhoidal and STEC non-O157 ascertained from the Disease Reporting System internet database from 2010 to 2015. Model type 2 scaled down cases of self-reported acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) to estimate the annual burden of Norovirus illness. We estimate that these five pathogens caused 45 600 (5%–95% range, 30 300–64 000) annual illnesses among nondeployed active duty US Army Service members. Of these pathogens, Norovirus, Campylobacter jejuni and Salmonella enterica non-typhoidal were responsible for the most illness. There is a tremendous burden of AGI and FBI caused by five major pathogens among US Army Soldiers, which can have a tremendous impact on readiness of the force. The US Army has a robust food protection program in place, but without a specific active FBI surveillance system across the Department of Defence, we will never have the ability to measure the effectiveness of modern, targeted, interventions aimed at the reduction of specific foodborne pathogens.
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