Foodborne Pathogens Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet)
The Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) is the principal foodborne disease component of the United States Center's for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emerging Infections Program (EIP). FoodNet is a collaboration between CDC, ten EIP sites (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, New Mexico, Oregon, and Tennessee), the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FoodNet is an active laboratory and population-based surveillance system to monitor the incidence of foodborne diseases and to conduct epidemiologic studies designed to help public health officials better understand the epidemiology of foodborne diseases of public health importance in the United States.
Objectives are to:
- Determine the burden of foodborne illness in the United States
- Monitor trends in the burden of specific foodborne illness over time
- Attribute the burden of foodborne illness to specific foods and settings
- Disseminate information that can lead to improvements in public health practice and the development of interventions to reduce the burden of foodborne illness
On-going surveillance is conducted for seven bacterial and two parasitic pathogens including: Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, Listeria, Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157 and other non-O157 STEC, Shigella, Vibrio and Yersinia. In addition, FoodNet sites conduct active surveillance for hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) (a serious complication of STEC infection).
Other FoodNet activities include:
Population survey - conducted to more precisely estimate the burden of acute diarrheal illness and to describe the frequency.
Survey of clinical laboratory practices - conducted to determine which pathogens are included in routine bacterial stool cultures, which tests must be specifically requested by the physician, and which specific techniques are used to identify the pathogens.
Physician survey – conducted periodically to understand current knowledge, attitudes, and practices of physicians within the surveillance area. Identification of a case of infection with a pathogen transmitted commonly through food depends upon accurate diagnosis by a healthcare provider and on appropriate laboratory testing.
Special studies – designed to determine what specific exposure caused a person with a sporadic infection to become ill. Although foodborne outbreaks are common, approximately 95% of foodborne infections occur as sporadic (non-outbreak) cases. Risk factors for sporadic infection can be explored through population-based studies. FoodNet conducts studies to examine the importance of various possible risky exposures (such as specific foods) and practices (such as food preparation and handling practices) as contributors to illness caused by specific pathogens.
FoodNet’s major contributions include:
- the establishment of reliable, active population-based surveillance of enteric diseases;
- development and implementation of epidemiologic studies to determine risk and protective factors for enteric infections;
- population surveys that describe the features of gastrointestinal illnesses, medical care-seeking behavior, and food eating patterns;
- laboratory surveys of current practices; and
- development of a surveillance and research platform that can be adapted to address emerging issues.
The most up-to-date information for diseases under surveillance by FoodNet is found on the CDC website:
- Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli, including E. coli O157 and E. coli non-O157s
Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome
- Postdiarrheal Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome in United States Children: Clinical Spectrum and Predictors of In-Hospital Death
The FoodNet Fast Dashboard is an interactive tool to display data on graphs, maps, and tables for select pathogens transmitted commonly through food. With FoodNet Fast, you can create custom searches and download data from the FoodNet, which covers about 15% of the United States population including the State of Connecticut. Features on the interactive dashboard allow searches by pathogen, year, age group, sex, and race. FoodNet Fast also provides information on seasonality, hospitalizations, deaths, international travel-associated cases, and outbreak-associated cases.
Infection With Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food and the Effect of Increasing Use of Culture-Independent Diagnostic Tests on Surveillance-Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, 10 U.S. Sites, 2012-2015
Making Food Safer to Eat - Vital Signs, a CDC special update on foodborne illness
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The NARMS Now: Human Data Dashboard, is an interactive tool from the CDC that contains antibiotic resistance data from bacteria isolated from humans as part of the NARMS. This dashboard makes it easier to find changes in antibiotic resistance over the past 17 years for Campylobacter, Escherichia coli O157, Salmonella, and Shigella. Data can be displayed as maps, graphs, and tables for these pathogens by serotype and antibiotic.
Connecticut Statistics and Outcomes
To contact the Epidemiology and Emerging Infections Program, please call 860-509-7994.