FoodCORE Center: Ohio
Program OverviewThe Ohio Department of Health (ODH) provides technical assistance to 125 local health departments (LHD). With FoodCORE funding, ODH established centralized interviewing and increased laboratory testing of bacterial isolates, which improved the state’s capacity to respond to foodborne outbreaks.
“My health department has been participating in the FoodCORE program since 2012. We give it our highest recommendation. The student interview team at ODH eases the persistent problems of staffing shortages and overworked communicable disease nurses at the local health department.”
Jenny Bailer, Director of Nursing, Butler County
Centralized interviewing of Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, and Listeria (SSL) patients started in June 2012. Ohio-FoodCORE has four student interviewers who contact all individuals with SSL infections reported from local health departments participating in FoodCORE. Timely and complete interviews are important for identifying potential outbreaks and associated causes.
Ohio increased the capacity for conducting DNA fingerprinting using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Before FoodCORE, less than 50% of the Salmonella isolates received underwent PFGE analysis. From 2009 through 2013, the Ohio Department of Health Laboratory increased the number of Salmonella isolates subtyped by PFGE each year from 702 to over 1400 isolates. Additionally, the average turn-around time for Salmonella PFGE decreased from 6.5 to 2 days. As a result, more PFGE matched Salmonella clusters are being investigated at an earlier stage.