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FoodCORE Center: Utah

map of the state of Utah

Program Overview

The Utah Department of Health works with state and local partners, including twelve local health departments, Utah Public Health Laboratory, and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, to improve foodborne outbreak detection and response through improved epidemiologic, laboratory, and environmental health capacity.

Utah Department of Health Workers

“With the support of FoodCORE, Utah established an enteric team comprised of public health professionals and dedicated students. Our team not only enhances routine interviewing and surveillance—we mobilize and hit the ground running launching rapid, coordinated outbreak response efforts.”

FoodCORE Project Director

At A Glance

Year joined FoodCORE: 2009
Population: 2.8 M
Structure: Decentralized
Number of local and tribal health departments: 12

Epidemiology:

  • Increased capacity for interviewing to improve interview timeliness and completion
  • Piloted electronic and self-reporting questionnaires
  • Conducted trainings and developed webinars and electronic training resources

Laboratory:

  • Increased timeliness of serotyping and DNA fingerprinting (PFGE)
  • Trained local jurisdictions in norovirus sample collection, submission and testing

Environmental Health

  • Provided training and equipment for collecting water samples during outbreaks
  • Implemented Utah’s first electronic, statewide foodborne complaint surveillance system
  • Conducted annual trainings for environmental health specialists at local health departments

Program Highlight

In February 2013, the Utah Department of Health enteric team launched igotsick.health.utah.gov , Utah’s first statewide foodborne complaint system. “Igotsick” reaches out to members of the public who have a foodborne illness but did not seek medical care or submit a stool sample. Gathering this information may assist in identifying outbreaks more rapidly. This system could also provide critical exposure information to support investigations. Additionally, “Igotsick” will help local health departments easily share information with others and record follow-up activity in a standardized way.

I Got Sick Graphic

The FoodCORE Interview Team (FIT) interviews all sick people with Salmonella and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections who are reported to 10 of 13 regional and local health departments. Since 2011, FIT has interviewed over 1,000 Salmonella and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli cases and has assisted in over 20 outbreak investigations. The FIT team provides critical information needed to help solve outbreaks in Tennessee.

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