Date of Conferral





Public Health


Robert Marino


Foodborne pathogens continue to threaten the food supply chain. Salmonellosis is a persistent foodborne pathogen responsible for gastroenteritis, leading to severe illness in children below 5 years of age, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems. Maryland has rising cases of salmonellosis linked to outbreaks due to consumption of raw or fresh fruits and produce. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine the association between the development of salmonellosis and the consumption of raw (fresh) produce, demographic and geographic characteristics, type of produce, and seasonal variation in Maryland. The study is based on the theory of system thinking and the food supply chain model as the framework. Data were obtained from the Maryland Department of Health and Foodborne Disease Active Surveillance Network for salmonellosis outbreaks between 2010 and 2018. Associations were evaluated using Pearson chi-square analysis and multivariable logistic regression with product terms. Results show summer months and location in the eastern region had the highest associations with occurrence of salmonellosis. Additionally, spinach, watermelon, berries, lettuce, and herbs are significantly associated with salmonellosis outbreaks. With exception of the category non-Hispanic, no other demographic factors showed an association with the development of salmonellosis. The social change implications of my findings include the provision of information to produce farmers, consumers, and local health educators regarding the mechanisms of Salmonella transfer and prevention through the entire food supply chain.

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