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Local Health Department Food Safety and Sanitation Expenditures and Reductions in Enteric Disease, 2000-2010

B Bekemeier, MP Yip, MD Dunbar, G Whitman, and Kwan-Gett T (2015)
American Journal of Public Health, 105(Suppl 2):S345-352.

Objectives. In collaboration with Public Health Practice-Based Research Networks, we investigated relationships between local health department (LHD) food safety and sanitation expenditures and reported enteric disease rates.

Methods. We combined annual infection rates for the common notifiable enteric diseases with uniquely detailed, LHD-level food safety and sanitation annual expenditure data obtained from Washington and New York state health departments. We used a multivariate panel time-series design to examine ecologic relationships between 2000-2010 local food safety and sanitation expenditures and enteric diseases. Our study population consisted of 72 LHDs (mostly serving county-level jurisdictions) in Washington and New York.

Results. While controlling for other factors, we found significant associations between higher LHD food and sanitation spending and a lower incidence of salmonellosis in Washington and a lower incidence of cryptosporidiosis in New York.

Conclusions. Local public health expenditures on food and sanitation services are important because of their association with certain health indicators. Our study supports the need for program-specific LHD service-related data to measure the cost, performance, and outcomes of prevention efforts to inform practice and policymaking.

 

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