Common Diarrhea-Causing Pathogen Unknown to Many People

Overall, though, acording to a survey, people are not as concerned as they were in the last survey in summer 2018. "Interest in consumer health topics is increasing steadily," says German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) president Dr. Andreas Hensel. "Despite all this, people underestimate the risk posed by pathogens in the kitchen." Although Campylobacter, the most common bacterial pathogen of diarrheal diseases, is better known than it was last year, fewer than one-third of respondents have heard of it, as opposed to the 96 percent who have heard of salmonella.

Whether antibiotic resistance, microplastics or salmonella -- which health risks are known to the population and what worries them? As a representative survey, the BfR Consumer Monitor gives an insight every six months into the question of how Germans perceive health risks. To do so, roughly 1,000 persons living in private households who are at least 14 years old are interviewed per telephone on behalf of the BfR.

Respondents still perceive smoking, climate and environmental pollution and an unhealthy or wrong diet as the biggest health risks. For the first time, respondents also spontaneously mentioned pollution through diesel exhaust and particulate matter as a risk. When asked about selected topics, salmonella, genetically modified foods and -- for the first time in third place -- microplastics in food, head the awareness scale. These are followed by antimicrobial resistance, residues of plant protection products in food, and aluminium in food packaging materials and containers.

As in the previous year, antimicrobial resistance and microplastics are still the topics most respondents are worried about. Compared to the last survey, however, the population is much less concerned about antimicrobial resistance, with those worried dropping by 11 percentage points to 57 percent. Fewer people than last year are concerned about salmonella and carbon monoxide, too.

Source: German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) 

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