Laboratory Surveys

More than 700 clinical laboratories in the FoodNet surveillance area test specimens from ill people. These laboratories differ in their routine testing practices for foodborne pathogens and in methods they use. Such differences may contribute to variation in the incidence rate of reported infections between FoodNet sites. To understand current practices and to monitor changes in practices over time, FoodNet conducts periodic surveys of all clinical laboratories within the surveillance area.

FoodNet conducted general surveys in 1995 (during the pilot phase of FoodNet surveillance), 1997, and 2000, and pathogen-specific surveys in 2005 and 2007. A brief summary of results, links to the survey protocols, questionnaires, and a list of publications describing results are included below. In 2010, FoodNet began to routinely survey clinical laboratories serving surveillance catchment area residents on the use of new testing methods to detect enteric pathogens in stool specimens.