Norovirus remained the most common food-borne disease in 2008, but more people were hospitalized for Salmonella poisoning than any other food-related illness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says in its annual report on food-borne illness.

These outbreaks resulted in 23,152 cases of illness, 1,276 hospitalizations, and 22 deaths.

Those findings, published Thursday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, are from cases reported by states to the national Food-borne Disease Outbreak Surveillance system for 2008, the most recent year for which the information is complete.

The food-borne agent responsible for the outbreak was confirmed by state health officials in 45 percent of the outbreaks, or 497 people.

CDC's 2008 report noted that among outbreaks with known pathogens, norovirus was the most common agent in 49 percent of outbreaks and 46 percent of illnesses.

While Salmonella was the second most common for 23 percent of outbreaks and 31 percent of illnesses.

Although the cause of an outbreak cannot always be determined or confirmed, state health officials reported specific food groups associated with 218 of these outbreaks, the agency said.

The top food groups to which the 218 outbreaks were attributed were poultry (15 percent), beef (14 percent), and fish (14 percent). Among the 7,177 illnesses in these 218 outbreaks, the food groups associated with the most illnesses were fruits and nuts (24 percent), vine vegetables (23 percent), and beef (13 percent), according to CDC.

CDC recommended that consumers and food handlers appropriately clean, separate, cook and chill foods to prevent food-borne illness. Health officials said food-borne agents cause an estimated 48 million illnesses annually in the United States, including 9.4 million illnesses from known pathogens.