We examined reported outbreaks of foodborne shigellosis in the USA from 1998 to 2008 and summarized demographic and epidemiological characteristics of 120 confirmed outbreaks resulting in 6208 illnesses. Most reported foodborne shigellosis outbreaks (n = 70, 58%) and outbreak-associated illnesses (n = 3383, 54%) were restaurant-associated. The largest outbreaks were associated with commercially prepared foods distributed in multiple states and foods prepared in institutional settings. Foods commonly consumed raw were implicated in 29 (24%) outbreaks and infected food handlers in 28 (23%) outbreaks. Most outbreaks (n = 86, 72%) were caused by Shigella sonnei. Targeted efforts to reduce contamination during food handling at multiple points in the food processing and distribution system, including food preparation in restaurants and institutional settings, could prevent many foodborne disease outbreaks and outbreak-related illnesses including those due to Shigella.
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