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New Era, Old Problems: Emerging and Re-Emerging Pathogens

5/9/24 8:00 am to 5/9/25 CDT
Contact: Vania Halabou

Reported incidence of emerging, re-emerging, less recognized and opportunistic pathogens linked to outbreaks of food and waterborne illness in Europe and the U.S. have been increasing due to changes in etiological agents, hosts and the environment. It is increasingly recognized that many otherwise commensal organisms can become pathogens under right conditions, in a right host and, if consumed in sufficient quantities. Opportunistic pathogens such as Legionella and Mycobacterium that are resistant to disinfection have been link to drinking water outbreaks while Aeromonas spp. have been linked to seafoods. Emerging pathogens such as Streptococcus spp. have posed human risk infection via milk and cattle while over the last decade, foodborne illness due to Noroviruses, Hepatitis A and E viruses, Rotaviruses and Astroviruses have been reported. Positive Hepatitis E RNA detection have been found in many RTE foods, processed meat products, milk and shellfish. With our food increasingly being made from ingredients sourced globally and year-round availability of certain seasonal fresh produce, fruits and vegetables, the RTE and minimally processed foods 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.

Speakers will cover how genomics and molecular factors affect microbial pathogenesis, methods for rapid detection, how microbial evolution and exposure to environmental stressors and interaction of microorganisms within biofilm can potentially change the microbial characteristics and behavior. Learn about their food safety implications and impact on risk management and food safety plans.


Alvin Lee, Ph.D, M.A.S.M.
Director of the Center for Processing Innovation, Institute for Food Safety and Health and Associate Professor of Food Science and Nutrition
Illinois Institute of Technology

Brendan Niemira, Ph.D.
Lead Scientist, Agricultural Research Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Purnendu C. Vasavada, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Food Science
University of Wisconsin-River Falls

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