FoodNet Fast

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FoodNet Fast is CDC’s interactive online program for getting information on cases of illness reported to the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet). FoodNet Fast makes it easy for users to see how rates of illness have changed over the past 20 years for nine pathogens transmitted commonly through food: Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, Listeria, Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), Shigella, Vibrio, and Yersinia.

Visit FoodNet Fast now — or read on for more information.

Background Information

People and organizations—public health workers, consumer advocacy groups, the medical community, the food industry, and the public—often have questions about foodborne illness burden and trends. CDC created FoodNet Fast to share FoodNet data so people can quickly and easily learn how many cases occurred in certain areas or over certain time periods, which groups were affected, and how the number of cases changed over time.

FoodNet Fast has information on cases of infection reported to FoodNet from 1996 through the most recent year of finalized data. Data for the most recent year may be preliminary. The program lets you search by pathogen, year, age group, sex, race, and FoodNet site. FoodNet Fast also provides information on ethnicity, seasonality, hospitalizations, deaths, travel-associated cases, and outbreak-associated cases. You can see species or serotype information when viewing a single pathogen. Click here to see Tips and Tricks for using FoodNet Fast.

For bacterial infections, FoodNet Fast includes information on confirmed cases and, from 2012 forward, cases diagnosed with a culture-independent diagnostic test (CIDT). FoodNet Fast also has data on confirmed cases of parasitic infections.

Data in FoodNet Fast come from the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet).

Public health officials in state and local health departments regularly obtain reports from clinical laboratories about diagnosed infections. FoodNet personnel in Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, and selected counties in California, Colorado, and New York investigate these reports, collect specific information, and send that information to CDC. Learn more about the FoodNet surveillance sites >

A CIDT-positive-only case of is a positive result from a culture-independent diagnostic test (CIDT) in a person whose CIDT result was not confirmed by culture, either because culture was not performed or because a culture did not yield the pathogen. A CIDT is positive when antigen or nucleic acid sequences of the bacterial pathogen are detected, typically in a stool specimen or enrichment broth. A CIDT is positive for STEC when Shiga toxin or the genes that encode a Shiga toxin are detected, typically in a stool specimen or enrichment broth.

For bacterial infections (Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, Listeria, Vibrio, and Yersinia), a case is confirmed if the bacterium was isolated (through culture) from a patient’s specimen. For parasitic infections (Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora), a case is confirmed if a parasite was detected by direct fluorescent antibody test, polymerase chain reaction, enzyme immunoassay, or light microscopy. Although tests used to diagnose Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora infections do not result in a culture, all of these cases are considered confirmed.

No. FoodNet Fast includes information on cases among people who reside in FoodNet’s surveillance area. FoodNet does not receive information on cases of illness among people who do not have a positive laboratory test. Not all the illnesses caused by these germs are transmitted by food; some are transmitted by water, other people, and animals or their environments.

The cause is not determined for most illnesses caused by these germs. That’s partly because many ill people do not seek medical care, and specimens from those who do may not be obtained or may not be tested for the germ that caused the illness.

Preliminary data from the previous year are published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) each spring. Final data are summarized in the FoodNet Annual Report, which is released after updated census information becomes available. Read the FoodNet annual reports >

It takes time for public health authorities to complete their case investigations and then to report the results to CDC. CDC reviews the reports for missing information in key data fields and works with state and local health departments to correct errors. CDC updates FoodNet Fast after finalizing the information.

Using FoodNet Fast

Incidence refers to the occurrence of new cases of disease in a population over a specified period of time. Incidence rates in FoodNet Fast are calculated by dividing the number of cases by the number of people in the population under surveillance and multiplying by 100,000. Standardizing the rate by multiplying by 100,000 allows direct comparisons among categories. The rate is the number of illnesses per 100,000 people. For example, a rate of 15.9 per 100,000 for Salmonella infection means that there are 15.9 cases of Salmonella infection for every 100,000 people in the population under surveillance.

FoodNet Fast provides incidence rates by year, pathogen, and geographic area.

Yes. FoodNet’s surveillance area includes the states of Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, and selected counties in California, Colorado, and New York.

You can specify one of these geographic areas in your search. Keep in mind that information may not be available for some areas prior to 2004. Learn more >

This is a case of illness in a person who traveled outside of the United States (international travel) in a specified period before the illness was diagnosed, meaning the infection likely was acquired abroad. Travel is assessed within 30 days before illness began for Listeria, Salmonella Typhi, and Salmonella Paratyphi A, B, C infections; within 15 days before illness began for Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora infections; and within 7 days before illness began for Campylobacter, Salmonella serotypes other than Typhi and Paratyphi A, B, and C, Shigella, Vibrio, and Yersinia infections.

This is a case of illness linked to an outbreak, as defined by the occurrence of two or more cases of a similar illness resulting from a common exposure.

Because of changes in the surveillance area, most markedly in 2004 when the catchment area grew from 5% to 15% of the U.S. population, incidence from early years cannot be compared with incidence from later years. In addition, not all information was collected in all years. For example, collection of data on international travel and outbreak association began in 2004. For Campylobacter, species information is available from 2010 and forward on a sample of isolates. For Salmonella, improved recognition and changes in reporting practice may explain increases in some serotypes, such as Salmonella serotype I 4,[5],12:i:-. Information on CIDT-positive cases has been collected since 2012.

Yes. Data in FoodNet Fast are a subset of data collected by the FoodNet sites. Contact foodnet@cdc.gov to submit a request for additional data.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). FoodNet Fast. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available from URL: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/foodnetfast. Accessed MM/DD/YYYY.

Tip and Tricks

The default view for FoodNet Fast shows data for confirmed cases of all pathogens from 1996 through the most current year of finalized data. You can customize your search using the following options (located to the left of the charts in FoodNet Fast):

  • Pathogen:
    • Single pathogen: If you choose a single pathogen, you can choose to see only confirmed cases (default setting) or confirmed and CIDT-positive cases. You can also choose to display associated subgroups. Examples of queries you can run include:
      • Confirmed cases of Salmonella
      • Specific Salmonella serotypes, e.g., Montevideo and Muenchen
      • Confirmed and CIDT-positive cases of Yersinia
    • Multiple pathogens: If you choose multiple pathogens, you will only see confirmed cases. Filters for “confirmed or CIDT-positive” and subgroups will not be displayed.
  • Year: You can specify a date range.
  • Age Group: You can specify one or more age groups.
  • Sex: You can specify male, female, or both.
  • Race: You can specify one or more races.
  • Geographic Area: You can choose one of FoodNet’s 10 surveillance areas – the states of Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, and selected counties in California, Colorado, and New York. Information may not be available for some surveillance areas prior to 2004. Learn when each area joined FoodNet >

If you do not select anything in the filter, all confirmed case data for that category will be included.

Dashboard view displays information in a custom array of interactive graphs and charts. Tabular view displays information in a table. Both views show the search box, Quick Stats, and links to download data.

When you select a single pathogen, you will see:

  • A line graph showing incidence of infections by year
  • A line graph showing percentage of infections by month
  • A pie chart showing the percentage of infections by subgroup (species or subtype)
  • Four separate bar charts for age group, sex, race, and ethnicity showing incidence of infections
  • A bar graph showing incidence of infection by state

If you select a filter for CIDT-positive cases, you will see two lines in the incidence by year and incidence by month graphs (one line for confirmed cases and one for confirmed or CIDT-positive cases), an additional “CIDT” slice in the pie chart, and stacked “CIDT” bars in the bar charts.

A drop-down menu on the upper right of each item allows you to switch between the graph and tabular view.  The tabular view provides the data used to create each graph.

The demographic charts (age group, sex, race, and ethnicity) also have the following menu options:

  • Infections: Shows incidence rate for all infections of the pathogen selected
  • Hospitalizations: Shows incidence rate of hospitalizations
  • Deaths: Shows incidence rate of deaths
  • Outbreak-associated: Shows incidence rate of outbreak-associated infections
  • Travel-associated: Shows incidence rate of international travel-associated infections

When you select more than one pathogen, you will see:

  • A line graph showing incidence of infection by year
  • A line graph showing percentage of infections by month
  • A bar graph showing number of infections by pathogen

A drop-down menu on the upper right side of each item allows you to switch between the graph and tabular view. The tabular view provides the data used to create each graph.

The CIDT-positive case filter is not available when selecting multiple pathogens.

To remove a pathogen from all graphs and charts, uncheck the box next to its name in the search box.

To remove a pathogen from an individual graph or chart, click on its name in the legend. The pathogen name in the legend will then have a line drawn through it indicating you have removed it. To add the pathogen back to the graph or chart, click on its name again. It will appear on the graph or chart and the line through its name in the legend will disappear.

“Quick Stats” provides the number of cases of illness, average incidence rate, and percentage of cases that resulted in hospitalization or death, or were associated with an outbreak or international travel. “Quick Stats” is available when you select a subgroup within a single pathogen or when you add the CIDT-positive case filter to a single pathogen.

When selecting a subspecies within a single pathogen, “Quick Stats: Overall” displays statistics for all cases of illnesses caused by that pathogen. “Quick Stats: Current Search” displays statistics based on the subspecies that you selected. For example, if you create a search for Salmonella Enteritidis, “Quick Stats: Current Search” will display statistics for Salmonella Enteritidis and “Quick Stats: Overall” will display statistics for all cases of Salmonella.

When adding the CIDT-positive case filter to your pathogen selection, “Quick Stats: Confirmed or CIDT-positive” will display statistics for all confirmed or CIDT-positive cases of the selected pathogen, and “Quick Stats: Confirmed” will display statistics for only confirmed cases of that pathogen.