Groups at High Risk for Foodborne Illness

Groups at High Risk for Foodborne Illness

Anyone can acquire a foodborne illness. However, some groups of people are just more susceptible to foodborne illnesses due to a compromised immune system.

The following are the four groups that the CDC lists as at a higher risk for foodborne illnesses.

Adults aged 65 or older

Adults ages 65 or older are more likely to have more severe symptoms when contracting a foodborne illness and are more at risk of hospitalization or death.

Children younger than 5 years

Children under the age of 5 are still developing their immune systems, meaning that it is easier for children to get sick.


Certain health problems can lead to a weakened immune system, making it harder for their body to fight off sickness, including foodborne illnesses.

These include, along with others:

  •        Cancer patients going through treatment
  •        Diabetes
  •        HIV or AIDS
  •        Transplant Recipients
  •        Autoimmune Disease

Pregnant women

Pregnancy changes the immune system, putting the baby at an increased risk for foodborne illnesses.

Foodborne illnesses symptoms can be worse during pregnancy, and could possibly lead to miscarriage, premature labor, and issues with the babies development.

Preventing Foodborne Illnesses in These Groups

When working with these groups, it is important to follow safe food handling practices, such as washing your hands and temperature control.

To get even more insights on how to protect these vulnerable groups from foodborne illnesses, check out our Food Protection Manager, Food Handler, and Allergen Awareness courses.

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