OutbreakNet Enhanced Fact Sheet
Increasing outbreak response capacity of state and local health departments
Program Description and Goals
OutbreakNet Enhanced is a CDC program that started in August 2015 and is designed to provide support to state and local health departments to improve their capacity to detect, investigate, control, and respond to enteric disease outbreaks. The network of epidemiologists supported by OutbreakNet Enhanced helps sites better prepare for and respond to outbreaks. This preparation is especially important as new technology leads to faster and more sensitive detection of outbreaks.
Twenty nine sites are currently funded by OutbreakNet Enhanced. Sites use funds to hire dedicated personnel to improve detection and complete rapid interviewing of cases of Salmonella, Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC), and Listeria as well as cases of infection with enteric bacteria that are antibiotic resistant.
OutbreakNet Enhanced sites collaborated with CDC staff to set performance metrics for the program based on a subset of measures from the Foodborne Diseases Centers for Outbreak Response Enhancement (FoodCORE) and the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFORexternal icon). These metrics are primarily process-based and are designed to measure timeliness and completeness of both laboratory and epidemiologic aspects of outbreak investigations. By collecting and reviewing performance metric data, sites are able to identify gaps in their enteric disease investigation processes and develop targeted strategies for improvement.
OutbreakNet Enhanced sites work closely with other capacity building programs at the state and federal level including:
In addition to the programs listed above, each OutbreakNet Enhanced site partners with an Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence (CoE) to complete a project to improve outbreak surveillance and response activities. OutbreakNet Enhanced sites choose projects based on their needs and develop a partnership with a CoE based on their area of expertise. Proposed projects include producing training videos for local health department staff, developing an online foodborne illness complaint system, and evaluating a state-wide foodborne epidemiology program to identify areas for improvement.
Growing the Network
OutbreakNet Enhanced began in 2015 with 11 sites and has expanded to additional sites each year. Currently, 29 sites participate in the program. CDC plans to continue expanding the program over the next several years if additional funding becomes available so that more health departments receive enhanced support for enteric disease investigations. This expansion is designed to assist health departments in building capacity and preparing for new technologies, such as whole genome sequencing of pathogens, which will lead to an increased workload for state and local epidemiologists.
If your agency is interested in joining OutbreakNet Enhanced, contact program staff at OPSCI@cdc.gov for more information about program requirements, eligibility, and applying through the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) Cooperative Agreement.