Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
 CDC Home Search Health Topics A-Z

CDC Media Relations
Media Home | Contact Us
US Department of Health and Human Services logo and link

Media Relations Links
About Us
Media Contact
Frequently Asked Questions
Media Site Map

CDC News
Press Release Library
MMWR Summaries
B-Roll Footage
Upcoming Events

Related Links
Centers at CDC
Data and Statistics
Health Topics A-Z
Image Library
Publications, Software and Other Products
Global Health Odyssey
Find your state or local health department
HHS News
National Health Observances
Visit the FirstGov Web Site
Div. of Media Relations
1600 Clifton Road
MS D-14
Atlanta, GA 30333
(404) 639-3286
Fax (404) 639-7394

Synopsis for March 17, 2000

MMWR articles are embargoed until 4 p.m. E.S.T. Thursdays.

  1. Preliminary FoodNet Data on the Incidence of Foodborne Illnesses — Selected Sites, United States, 1999
  2. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome — Panama, 1999–2000
  3. Outbreaks of Norwalk-like Viral Gastroenteritis — Alaska and Wisconsin, 1999
Surveillance Summary


Surveillance for Foodborne-Disease Outbreaks — United States, 1993–1997

March 17, 2000/Vol. 49/No. SS–1

Contact: Division of Media Relations
CDC, Office of Communication
(404) 639–3286

This report is a summary of over 2700 foodborne outbreaks which occurred in the United States from 1993 to 1997. Salmonella Enteritidis accounted for the largest number of outbreaks, and most of these were due to eating contaminated eggs. Multi-state outbreaks caused by contaminated produce and outbreaks caused by E. coli O157 were also prominent. The outbreak data provide information on specific foods implicated in human illness and complement FoodNet data on individual illnesses. Together, these data indicate that additional prevention measures are needed throughout the food chain. The 70-page report will be available online (after 4 p.m. Thursday) at

Synopsis for March 17, 2000

Preliminary FoodNet Data on the Incidence of Foodborne Illnesses — Selected Sites, United States, 1999

Preliminary 1999 FoodNet data shows declines for several foodborne diseases under surveillance.

Division of Media Relations
CDC, Office of Communication
(404) 639–3286
The 19% decline in bacterial foodborne infections from 1997 to 1999 suggests nearly a million bacterial illnesses were prevented in 1999. This indicates that progress is being made towards reducing the marked burden of foodborne illness. Nonetheless, more work needs to be done. Campylobacter continued its decline, decreasing 19% from 1998 to 1999. Poultry is the most common source of Campylobacter infections. Shigella demonstrated a 44% decline from 1998 to 1999. Following decreasing rates in previous years, Salmonella increased from 1998 to 1999; this varied by region and serotype. Rates for the most common serotype, Salmonella Typhimurium, remained constant. Rates for Salmonella Enteritidis, the second most common serotype, frequently associated with eggs, continued a several year decline.


Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome — Panama, 1999–2000

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), a severe but rare disease, is characterized by rapid onset of difficulty breathing or sudden death.

Paul Kitsutani, M.D.
CDC, National Center for Infectious Diseases
(404) 639–1511
In mid-January, CDC received reports of unexplained deaths in Los Santos Province, Panama. The subsequent investigation identified 12 adult cases; 3 deaths. CDC has confirmed six of the cases by laboratory testing for HPS. There was an increase in rainfall during Fall/Winter 1999 that may have led to increased numbers of rodents. Flooding, following these rains, may have increased the rodent population around homes. A team of researchers from CDC, the Panamanian Ministry of Health, the Gorgas Commemorative Institute for Health Studies, and the Pan-American Health Organization are currently in Panama conducting the outbreak investigation. This is the first outbreak of HPS in Central America. HPS, a rodent-borne disease, will continue to cause outbreaks throughout the Americas. To prevent this disease, people should avoid contact with rodents and rodent excrement.


Outbreaks of Norwalk-like Viral Gastroenteritis — Alaska and Wisconsin, 1999

Norwalk-like viruses" (NLVs) are the most common cause of epidemic gastroenteritis in the United States.

Alan Ramsey, M.D., M.P.H. & T.M.
CDC, Epidemic Intelligence Service
(608) 267–9004
NLVs cause as many as 96% of all nonbacterial outbreaks. Illnesses due to NLVs affect approximately 23 million persons per year in the United States and most are caused by foodborne or person-to-person transmission. In the Alaska outbreak, at least 191 persons developed acute gastroenteritis at a company luncheon after eating potato salad contaminated by a single ill food handler. In Wisconsin, 19 of 36 dorm residents fell ill after returning from Thanksgiving break as NLV was transmitted from person to person. Basic sanitary measures, such as diligent handwashing, can prevent both foodborne and person-to-person transmission. In addition, ill workers should be excluded from food handling, and food preparers should minimize direct contact with ready-to-eat foods. Persons who live in shared quarters and use communal bathroom facilities should pay particular attention to good hygienic practices.


Media Home | Contact Us

CDC Home | Search | Health Topics A-Z

This page last reviewed Thursday, March 16, 2000

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Office of Communication