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Don’t Forget the Epidemiology: Unraveling a Five-Year Listeria Outbreak


It’s not every day that you see an outbreak of foodborne illness spanning five years. But that’s what happened with a Listeria outbreak first announced 10 days ago by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Just last month, it was whole-genome sequencing that connected together the 24 illnesses reaching back to 2010. But good… Continue Reading

IAFP 2015: Experts May Have Determined How Caramel Apples Caused That Listeria Outbreak

CDC caramel apples

In November 2014, health officials began investigating two concerning clusters of Listeria infections that seemed to be related. The two strains of bacteria had already killed at least five people and hospitalized a few dozen others by the time they got on the case, and they wanted to find the source and stop it as quickly as… Continue Reading

Officials Investigating Possible Salmonella Outbreak in Massachusetts and Other States


Health officials are investigating a series of potentially related Salmonella illnesses in multiple states, one of them known to be Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health revealed Thursday that it is investigating a possible cluster of Salmonella illnesses in the state, according to Fox25. The department said the potential multistate outbreak is also being investigated by federal… Continue Reading

E. Coli Illnesses Among Oregon Preschoolers Prompt School Shutdown


A preschool in northwestern Oregon has shut down after three of its students contracted E. coli infections this fall. The Public Health Division of Clackamas County this weekend requested that children who attend the Heart Centered Montessori of West Linn, OR, stay home from schools, daycares and water-related activities and that they not participate in… Continue Reading

17 Months and 634 Illnesses Later, CDC Declares Foster Farms-Linked Salmonella Outbreak Over

Chicken processing

Seventeen months since the first illnesses appeared in March 2013, the Foster Farms-linked Salmonella outbreak has been declared over by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The final tally of confirmed illnesses came in at 634 people in 29 states and Puerto Rico. Of those cases, at least 241 people (38 percent) were… Continue Reading

Whole-Genome Sequencing Expected to Revolutionize Outbreak Investigations


For decades, food safety experts have lived with the reality that roughly one-third of foodborne illness outbreak investigations ended without finding the source. But with the wide proliferation of new laboratory technology on the horizon, outbreak investigations could soon become more accurate, more efficient and more complete, according to researchers at Cornell University, the New… Continue Reading

Publisher’s Platform: How to Break a Foodborne Illness Story


Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, people get sick from eating food. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that at least 48 million of us get sick each year, with 125,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Many of those sickened are the “canaries in the coal mine” – people who are the first to… Continue Reading

Social Media Apps Use Twitter to Track Illness Outbreaks


The opportunity to use social media platforms to report and track foodborne illnesses is becoming increasingly feasible as more and more people use social media to discuss the ins and outs of daily life. In April, a few volunteer developers in Chicago launched an app called Foodborne Chicago, which aims to facilitate a connection between… Continue Reading

The Challenges and Advantages of Farm-to-Fork Traceability


Take a moment to consider some of the foods found in a supermarket: eggs, tomatoes, coffee — maybe even chocolate chip peppermint brownie ice cream. Now, try to imagine all the steps and processes that food went through to get all the way to those shelves. While the ice cream likely went through more processes… Continue Reading

Public Health: Are We Too Slow?



This article was co-authored by Dr. Kathleen Vidoloff, Emergency Risk Communication Officer for Oregon Public Health Division, and Dr. Jean O’Connor, former Oregon Deputy Public Health Director. One of the many roles of public health is to protect consumers from threats like foodborne outbreaks. Much of this hinges on quickly getting out clear messages to… Continue Reading