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Select Features About Foodborne Outbreaks

CDC's surveillance systems provide a wealth of information for subject matter experts and communicators who write feature articles on food safety topics, such as:

  • Illnesses and outbreaks linked to germs in foods
  • CDC's role in detecting and responding to outbreaks
  • Trends in outbreaks
  • Important health and safety information for the public


Three teenage girls eating panini sandwichesNew CDC Data on Foodborne Disease Outbreaks

Outbreaks provide important insights into how germs spread, which food and germ combinations cause illnesses, and how to prevent infections. Public health and industry use outbreak data to create information on prevention, education, and policy.

  • Did You Know?  From 2011-2012, the CDC Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System (FDOSS) found that sit-down dining style restaurants were responsible for 60% of foodborne outbreaks in the United States. Learn more about the specific germs and foods responsible for outbreak related illnesses by visiting the Annual Summaries of Foodborne Outbreaks web page.
EggsSalmonella in Eggs: An Unwelcome Summer Visitor

Eggs and summer go together: deviled eggs, homemade ice cream, and potato salad. But, just a few hours outside of the refrigerator and your eggs can create lasting memories that you'd rather forget. Make sure that eggs carrying Salmonella don't come to your next outing.

Woman selling fruits and vegetablesWhen Food Bites Back: Protecting Those at Risk for Listeria Food Poisoning

Sometimes foods we love and count on for good health are contaminated with germs that cause illness and can be deadly for certain people.

  • Did You Know? Listeria is one of the most deadly germs spread by contaminated food. A new Vital Signs report on foodborne illness looks at Listeria and the people it strikes the hardest.
Graphic: Food Production ChainTracking and Reporting Foodborne Disease Outbreaks

Eating or drinking a contaminated food or beverage can cause a foodborne illness. A foodborne disease outbreak occurs when two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink.

  • Did You Know? CDC's Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System gathers data on foodborne disease outbreaks from state, local, territorial, and tribal health departments. Learn about three surveillance summaries: 1998-2008, 2009-2010, 2008.
Graph: Foodborne Disease Outbreaks, 2008. Source: Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System. 2008 was the most recent year for which outbreak data are finalized. Outbreaks reported: 1,034; Cases of illness: 23,152; Hospitalizations: 1,276; Deaths: 22.Foodborne Disease Outbreaks Are Deadly Serious – What You Can Do to Avoid Them

Many outbreaks result from food that is contaminated when it is prepared or served by a food worker with improperly washed hands. Evidence shows that preventing illness begins with the basics. Wash your hands thoroughly, with soap, before and after handling food. It can prevent illness and even death.

  • Did You Know? Outbreaks lead to thousands of illnesses and deaths in the United States each year. Read reports based on information gathered from CDC's surveillance systems.1
Figure 1: Outbreaks of Acute Gastroenteritis, 30 States, January 2007 through April 2010 (larger view)Surveillance for Norovirus Outbreaks

Noroviruses spread when people have contact with infected people, consume contaminated food or water, and touch contaminated objects or surfaces. Outbreaks occur often and can happen to people of all ages in a variety of settings.

  • Did You Know? In 2012, a new strain of norovirus, called GII.4 Sydney, was detected in Australia. It is currently the leading cause of norovirus outbreaks in the United States. CDC will keep watching this new strain closely. Learn more.

CDC’s food-safety features emphasize strong call-to-action messages and include friendly, meaningful visuals. While most features are topic- or event-driven, some capture the full scope of CDC's work on cross-cutting topics such as staying healthy and safe over the holidays, sending kids back to school, or CDC's global programs and outreach. More

Learn More about Foodborne Outbreak Tracking and Reporting


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1 in 6  people gets food poisoning. CDC Vital Signs™: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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