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Estimated Annual Costs of Campylobacter-Associated Guillain-Barre Syndrome

by Jean C. Buzby, Tanya Roberts, and Ban Mishu Allos

Agricultural Economic Report No. (AER-756) 33 pp, July 1997

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an autoimmune reaction that can cause acute neuro-muscular paralysis. Of an estimated 2,628 to 9,575 new U.S. cases with GBS annually, 526 to 3,830 are triggered by infection with Campylobacter, the most frequently isolated cause of foodborne diarrhea. Estimated total annual costs of Campylobacter-associated GBS of $0.2 to $1.8 billion plus previously estimated costs of campylobacteriosis ($1.3 to $6.2 billion) add to total annual costs from Campylobacter of $1.5 to $8.0 billion (1995 dollars). Assuming 55-70 percent of costs are attributable to foodborne sources, costs of campylobacteriosis from food sources ($0.7 to $4.3 billion) and costs of associated GBS ($0.1 to $1.3 billion) combined equal total annual costs of $0.8 to $5.6 billion from foodborne Campylobacter. Reducing Campylobacter in food could prevent up to $5.6 billion in costs annually.

Keywords: Campylobacter, cost-of-illness, foodborne pathogens, Guillain-Barré syndrome, lost productivity, medical costs

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Last updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013

For more information contact: Jean C. Buzby, Tanya Roberts, and Ban Mishu Allos

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