Each year, nearly 50 million Americans fall ill from contaminated food, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). Harmful bacteria are the most common cause of foodborne illness. Symptoms can range from mild irritation to severe reactions, including stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and dehydration.
Researchers took a selection of 14 foodborne pathogens and compared them based on the number of illness caused, the number of hospitalizations, the cost of illness and what's known as the cost to a person's quality of life. One by one, the pathogens demonstrated their abilities and slowly, several started to emerge from the rest of the pack, leaving a top five.