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Illness and death from diseases caused by unsafe food are a constant threat to public health security as well as socio-economic development throughout the world. The full extent of the burden and cost of foodborne diseases associated with pathogenic bacterial, viral and parasitic microorganisms, and food contaminated by chemicals is still unknown but is thought to be substantial. The World Health Organization (WHO) Initiative to estimate the global burden of foodborne diseases aims to fill the current data gap and respond to the increasing global interest in health information. Collaborative efforts are required to achieve the ambitious task of assessing the foodborne disease burden from all causes worldwide. Recognising the need to join forces, the WHO Initiative has assembled an alliance of stakeholders which share and support the Initiative's vision, intended objectives and outcomes. One important collaborator is the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) which has embarked on a burden of disease study covering at least 18 foodborne diseases in nearly 30 countries.


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