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Fast Facts about PulseNet

Since 1996, PulseNet has connected foodborne illness cases together, using DNA "fingerprinting" of the bacteria making people sick, in order to detect and define outbreaks. PulseNet has detected thousands of local and multi-state outbreaks since it began, leading to prevention opportunities and continuous improvements in our food safety systems that might not otherwise have occurred. Since "foodborne illnesses do not respect any borders,"PulseNet International performs a similar role for worldwide foodborne illnesses.

Quick Stats

Graphic: USA Map in 3DPulseNet USA is made up of 87 federal, regional, state, and local laboratories. There is at least one PulseNet laboratory in every state

Graphic: MicroscopeIn 2012, participating laboratories reported over 60,000 isolates to PulseNet. Over 4,000 of these isolates were from food, animal, or environmental sources.

Graphic: Magnifying glassEach year in the United States, 1,200 clusters of disease are identified by state and local health agencies and 10—15 multistate or national outbreaks are identified.

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Impact

  • PulseNet has detected of thousands of local and multi-state outbreaks since it began, leading to prevention opportunities and continuous improvements in our food safety systems that might not otherwise have occurred.
  • More than one half-billion pounds of contaminated food have been recalled—saving lives, time, and money—thanks to PulseNet
  • Industries that have improved safety practices thanks to outbreak investigations triggered by PulseNet include:
    • Beef
    • Eggs
    • Flour
    • Leafy greens
    • Melon
    • Other vegetables
    • Peanut products
    • Poultry
    • Ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook foods
    • Spices
    • Spouts
    • Tree nuts

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Pathogens Covered

PulseNet detects subtypes of:

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*Clostridium botulinum is considered a select agent and, as such, follows different handling procedures than other pathogens covered by PulseNet.

 
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