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Physician Surveys

Overview

Identification of a case of infection with a pathogen transmitted commonly through food depends upon accurate diagnosis by a health care provider and on appropriate laboratory testing. To understand current knowledge, attitudes, and practices of physicians, FoodNet conducts periodic surveys of physicians practicing within the surveillance area.

Surveys were conducted in 1996, 2000, and 2009. A brief summary of results, links to the survey protocols, questionnaires, and a list of publications describing results are included below.

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Physician Survey, 1996

In 1996, a survey of randomly selected physicians in five sites was conducted to understand practices regarding the diagnosis of acute diarrheal diseases. The questionnaire collected information on specialty, training, amount of time in direct patient care, and division of time between in-patient and ambulatory care. Questions focused on the most recent patient seen with diarrhea. Results showed that physicians were more likely to request a culture from persons with bloody stools and those who had traveled to a developing country, had diarrhea for >3 days, or had a fever.

Reference:

Hennessy TW, Marcus R, Deneen V, Reddy S, Vugia D, Townes J, Bardsley M, Swerdlow D, Angulo FJ. Survey of physician diagnostic practices for patients with acute diarrhea: clinical and public health implications. Clin Infect Dis. 2004;38(Suppl 3):S203-211.

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Physician Survey, 2000

In 2000, FoodNet surveyed physicians regarding their knowledge, attitudes, and practices as food safety educators for their patients. The survey was limited to physicians working in obstetric, oncology, and infectious disease clinics. Results showed that physicians who perceived foodborne disease to be a serious problem or felt that patients perceived them as a valuable resource for food safety advice were more likely to provide food safety information to patients.

An electronic copy of the questionnaire and protocol is not currently available. Please use the contact information to the right to request a copy.

Reference:

Wong S, Marcus R, Hawkins M, Shallow S, McCombs KG, Swanson E, Anderson B, Shiferaw B, Garman R, Noonan K, Van Gilder T. Physicians as food-safety educators: a practices and perceptions survey. Clin Infect Dis. 2004;38(Suppl 3):S212-218.

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Physician Survey, 2009

In 2009, a survey of physicians working in primary care, emergency or urgent care facilities, family practice, and infectious diseases was conducted. Objectives were to understand knowledge of treatment and testing for patients with diarrheal illness caused by Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 (STEC) and non-O157 STEC infection and assess knowledge about the development of HUS following infection with STEC. Questions also asked about empiric antimicrobial treatment of patients with acute diarrheal illness and laboratory testing practices for patients with bloody and non-bloody diarrhea.

Reference:

Clogher P, Hurd S, Hoefer D, Hadler J, Pasutti L, Cosgrove S, Segler S, Tobin-D’Angelo M, Nicholson C, Booth H, Garman K,. Mody R, Gould LH. Assessment of Physician Knowledge and Practices Concerning Shiga Toxin–Producing Escherichia coli Infection and Enteric Illness, 2009, Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet). Clin Infect Dis. 2012 Jun;54 Suppl 5:S446-52.

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