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Caliciviruses, of which the noroviruses are the most important group of viruses, are responsible for the majority of foodborne outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis in the US. To increase the quality of national norovirus surveillance, CDC has developed and implemented an electronic norovirus outbreak surveillance network (CaliciNet) with state and local public health laboratories. This network compares norovirus sequences to be able to rapidly link norovirus outbreaks with a common food source as well as to identify emerging norovirus strains. CaliciNet went live in March 2009 and currently has 17 states certified for participation.

Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net)

EHS-Net (pronounced S-Net) is a collaborative forum of specialists whose mission is to improve environmental health. These specialists collaborate with epidemiologists and laboratory professionals to identify and prevent environmental factors contributing to foodborne and waterborne illness and disease outbreaks.


The Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) is the principal foodborne disease component of CDC's Emerging Infections Program (EIP). FoodNet is a collaborative project of CDC, 10 state health departments, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FoodNet conducts active population-based surveillance for seven bacterial and two parasitic infections transmitted commonly through food, and it conducts analyses and epidemiologic studies designed to help public health officials better understand the epidemiology of foodborne diseases in the US.


CDC's OutbreakNet team ensures rapid, coordinated detection and response to multistate outbreaks of enteric diseases and promotes comprehensive outbreak surveillance. OutbreakNet works in partnership with state and local health departments, USDA, FDA, and PulseNet.


PulseNet is the national subtyping network made up of state and local public health laboratories and federal food regulatory laboratories that perform molecular surveillance of foodborne infections.  PulseNet is coordinated by CDC and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL). The PulseNet participants subtype foodborne bacteria by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) when they receive the isolates in the laboratories and submit the results electronically to a dynamic database that allows them to rapidly compare patterns to other submissions.  PulseNet is vital for identifying, investigating and microbiologically confirming the sources of local and multistate outbreaks of foodborne illnesses in the US.

Leadership and Collaborative Activities

The Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR)

CIFOR was created to develop and share guidelines, processes, and products that will facilitate good foodborne outbreak response.   The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) are co-chairing CIFOR with support from CDC.  CIFOR was created to develop and share guidelines, processes, and products that will facilitate good foodborne outbreak response.


The purpose of DPDx is to assist and strengthen the laboratory diagnosis of parasitic diseases and provide distance-based education and training domestically and internationally.  DPDx offers many services including diagnostic assistance (through telediagnosis, laboratory inquiries, and technology transfer) and training (via an interactive website, monthly case studies, workshops, and CD-ROM tools).

Food Safety Office (FSO)

The Food Safety Office helps lead CDC in the prevention of illness, disability, and death due to foodborne diseases.

National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS)

CDC collects reports of foodborne outbreaks due to enteric bacterial, viral, parasitic, and chemical agents.  State, local, and territorial public health agencies report these outbreaks through NORS.  The NORS surveillance team conducts analyses of these data to improve understanding of the human health impact of foodborne outbreaks and the pathogens, foods, settings, and contributing factors involved in these outbreaks.

Resources and Data Tools

Foodborne Disease Listing

A listing of foodborne diseases and pathogens that cause disease along with brief descriptions of the disease, symptoms, treatment, prevention measures and frequently asked questions.

Foodborne Outbreak Online Database

For state-specific information about outbreaks, search the Foodborne Outbreak Online Database (FOOD).

FoodNet Annual Report

For data about the annual incidence of infections with pathogens transmitted commonly through food as well as trends over time, see FoodNet annual reports.  A preliminary report is published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report every April with a final report published later in the year when current census information becomes available.

National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) Annual Report

NARMS is a collaboration among CDC, FDA (Center for Veterinary Medicine), and USDA (Food Safety and Inspection Service and Agricultural Research Services). NARMS for Enteric Bacteria was established in 1996, within the framework of the CDC's Emerging Infections Program's Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Program and FoodNet.

Educational Resources

Antibiotic Resistance

Learn about antimicrobial resistance issues in people and animals at Get Smart and Get Smart on the Farm.

BAM! Body and Mind

Designed for kids 9-13 years old, BAM! Body and Mind gives them the information they need to make healthy lifestyle choices. The site focuses on topics that kids told us are important to them and also serves as an aid to teachers, providing them with interactive, educational, and fun activities that are linked to the national education standards for science and health.


For information about foodborne illnesses in English and Spanish that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call– 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636) or send an e-mail to  TTY: 888-232-6348.

Epidemiologic Foodborne Case Studies

Learn more about foodborne illness through these epidemiologic case studies.

EXCITE! — Excellence in Curriculum Innovation through Teaching Epidemiology and the Science of Public Health 

EXCITE! is a collection of teaching and reference materials developed by CDC to introduce and excite youth from kindergarten through 12 grade about the knowledge and skills utilized by public health professionals.

Foodborne Illness Primer

Information about diagnosis and management of foodborne illnesses is available in this primer for health care providers.

Consumer-oriented food safety site with tips from the CDC, Food and Drug Administration, and United States Department of Agriculture.

Healthy Pets Healthy People

Information about how to own pets and protect families from the diseases they may carry.

The Science Ambassador Program

This program invites science teachers from middle and high schools to compete for the chance to collaborate with CDC scientists on epidemiologic-based lesson plans. Together, CDC and science teachers craft relevant and up-to-date lessons plans, available online, that make the sciences that underpin public health practice more interesting and engaging to students.

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