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Enteric Diseases Epidemiology and Laboratory Branches


Surveillance is a core function of public health, tracking trends, guiding prevention strategies, and detecting outbreaks.

We conduct national surveillance for major bacterial infections transmitted through food or water, and for outbreaks of foodborne infections of any cause. We develop and implement better tools for public health surveillance.

PulseNet, our new network for DNA "fingerprinting" of bacteria that cause foodborne illness, links state public health laboratories, CDC and the food regulatory agencies together so that multistate outbreaks can be rapidly detected and investigated. PulseNet technology provides each state with the capacity to detect clusters of infections. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2004, PulseNet included all 50 states and Canada, covering Listeria, Shigella, E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella. PulseNet China launched, and the international networks of PulseNet Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America held formative meetings.

Also in FY2004, our electronic foodborne outbreak reporting system (eFORS) gathered reports of more than 1000 such outbreaks. In addition to routine national surveillance of reportable infections such as salmonellosis and shigellosis, the FoodNet program conducts active surveillance for a broader range of pathogens in a group of sentinel sites, providing reliable and accurate information on the incidence of and risk factors for a variety of foodborne infections. FoodNet is our collaborative effort among ten states, the food regulatory agencies, and CDC’s Emerging Infectious Disease Program. In FY2004, FoodNet documented a continuing decline in the incidence of Campylobacter and Salmonella and the first significant decrease in E. coli O157:H7 infections since FoodNet began in 1996. Our collaborative monitoring program for antibiotic resistance in foodborne organisms documented continuing resistance in Salmonella to ceftriaxone and in Campylobacter to fluoroquinolones, the drugs of choice for treating severe intestinal infections.

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Content Source: National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases (ZVED)
Page last modified: September 07, 2007
Page last reviewed: September 07, 2007