Steps in a Multistate Foodborne Outbreak Investigation
CDC investigates each multistate foodborne outbreak thoroughly using a 7-step process.
The steps are described in order, but investigations are dynamic and several steps may happen at the same time. Click on each step to learn more.
DetectDetect a possible outbreak by monitoring for reported illnesses nationwide
FindDefine who will be included in the outbreak and look for additional sick people
GenerateGenerate hypotheses (potential explanations) by interviewing people about what they ate before getting sick
TestTest hypotheses by comparing what sick people ate to what people who are not part of the outbreak ate
SolveConfirm the contaminated food using epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback information and identify the point of contamination
ControlStop the outbreak by recalling contaminated food, cleaning or closing food facilities, and providing advice to people and businesses
DecideDecide the outbreak is over when illnesses stop and the contaminated food is no longer available