Emerging Pathogens and Pathogens of Emerging Concern


Join the Department of Food Science and Nutrition for this seminar series event featuring Purnendu C. Vasavada, a professor emeritus from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

The epidemiology of foodborne disease is changing worldwide. Reports of emerging, reemerging, less recognized, and opportunistic pathogens linked to outbreaks of foodborne illness have been increasing in the U.S. and elsewhere. Also, many otherwise commensal organisms can become pathogens under the right conditions, in the right host, and if consumed in sufficient quantities. These organisms are increasingly recognized as pathogens of emerging concern.

Emerging foodborne pathogens are often zoonotic and may include Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Recent outbreaks linked to opportunistic and highly recognized/presumptive foodborne pathogens have been linked to factors such as changes in the behavior of microorganisms and consumers, changes in agricultural practices and animal husbandry, an increase in foreign travel, food distribution through a global marketplace, and climate changes. In addition, the global sourcing of food and ingredients, especially, fresh produce, fruits, and vegetables, as well as RTE, minimally processed foods, and supply chain issues, have allowed the emergence of some of these pathogens with opportunistic tendency to come to the forefront of food safety. More troubling is the incidence of these pathogens in novel food sources.

Advances in molecular technologies and pathogen detection methods allow increased recognition of previously undetectable or new pathogens. The main objective of this seminar is to review emerging pathogens, and factors that may be involved in their emergence, and discuss their food safety implications.

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