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FoodCORE Center: Wisconsin

Program Overview

The Division of Public Health in the Wisconsin Department of Health Services collaborates with the 99 local and tribal public health departments in the state. They established the Wisconsin-FoodCORE program to improve statewide response to foodborne outbreaks by enhancing laboratory, epidemiologic, and environmental health capacity.

     map of the state of Wisconsin

“Wisconsin’s FoodCORE-supported Surveillance and Outbreak Support (SOS) Team is a great help, providing added interviewing capabilities and surge capacity to our local health departments during outbreak investigations. It also provides a valuable training ground for future public health professionals.”

Justin Kohl, SOS Team Coordinator/Epidemiologist

Program Highlight

In 2009, the Wisconsin Division of Public Health established the Surveillance and Outbreak Support (SOS) Program. The coordinator works with local and tribal health departments to improve timely interviewing for Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, and Listeria infections and supervises a student team to assist with interviewing and outbreak investigations.

During 2010‐2012, the number of people identified with Salmonella infections remained about the same, but the percentage of those interviewed increased. The percentage of people with an interview completed by both the local health departments and the SOS Team was 72% in 2010, 77% in 2011, and 81% in 2012. As a result, when illness clusters are detected, exposure information is readily available for review by epidemiologists. This is critical in stopping widespread outbreaks.

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