Journal Article

Limitations to Successful Investigation and Reporting of Foodborne Outbreaks: An Analysis of Foodborne Disease Outbreaks in FoodNet Catchment Areas, 1998–1999

Timothy F. Jones, Beth Imhoff, Michael Samuel, Patricia Mshar, Katherine Gibbs McCombs, Marguerite Hawkins, Valerie Deneen, Michael Cambridge and Sonja J. Olsen

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 38, issue Supplement_3, pages S297-S302
Published in print April 2004 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online April 2004 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/381599
Limitations to Successful Investigation and Reporting of Foodborne Outbreaks: An Analysis of Foodborne Disease Outbreaks in FoodNet Catchment Areas, 1998–1999

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To better understand factors associated with confirming the etiologic organism and identifying the food vehicle responsible for foodborne-disease outbreaks, we examined data from outbreaks reported in 1998 and 1999 through active surveillance by Foodborne Disease Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) surveillance areas in 7 states. In 71% of these outbreaks, no confirmed etiology was identified, and in 46%, no suspected food vehicle was identified. Outbreaks involving ⩾10 cases were significantly more likely to have their etiology identified than were smaller outbreaks. In two-thirds of outbreaks in which an etiology was not confirmed, no stool specimens were collected for laboratory testing; in 55% of these outbreaks, neither clinical specimens nor food samples were tested. If the etiology of and factors contributing to foodborne-disease outbreaks are to be understood, adequate resources must be available to allow specimens to be collected and tested and epidemiologic investigations to be conducted appropriately.

Journal Article.  3808 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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