About Shigella

From the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Shigella and other foodborne illness outbreaks.

Chapter 10

The Economic Impact of Shigella Infections

Shigella causes nearly a billion dollars in medical costs and lost productivity every year.

The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) published its first comprehensive cost estimates for sixteen foodborne bacterial pathogens in 1989. [32] Five years later, it was estimated that the medical costs and productivity losses that Shigella infections caused each year ran from $907 million to over $1 billion, based on an estimate of 2.1 million cases and between 120-360 deaths. [13] The average length of a related hospital stay was 4.6 days, with the cost (based on a 1990 average cost per day of $687) was $16,888. [13]

Using a different kind of economic analysis, this same 1996 study estimated that the annual cost of Shigella infections was $63 million, while the average cost of each confirmed and treated infection was $390; however, these estimates are based on significantly lower (and outdated) incidence and death rates. [13] Most recent estimates are all much higher. For example, a study published in 2010 estimated the cost per case (in 2009 dollars) for a treated Shigella infection to be $7,092, with an estimate of 96,686 cases and 1,227 deaths per year, and a total cost to U.S. residents of $686 million. [35]

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