Enteric Diseases Laboratory Branch

PulseNet 20 anniversary
PulseNet: 20 Years of PulseNet
PulseNet is celebrating 20 years of public health achievements in transforming the way we detect and investigate foodborne disease outbreaks… More
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CDC Feature: PulseNet & Foodborne Disease Outbreak Detection
Since 1996, PulseNet has connected foodborne illness cases together, using DNA “fingerprinting” of the bacteria making people sick, to detect and define outbreaks… More
Image of Hazelnut Plant
CDC Works For You 24/7: PulseNet at Work: Detecting Hazardous Hazelnuts
They’re usually in bowls of mixed nuts that are a holiday staple. But for 8 people who lived in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, the 2010 holidays weren’t so merry… More
Emerging Infectious Diseases Cover March 2012 Issue
Emerging Infectious Diseases: Nonculture Diagnostic Tests for Enteric Diseases
Volume 18, Number 3 – March 2012, Timothy F. Jones (Tennessee Department of Health) and Peter Gerner-Smidt (CDC)… More


Microbiologists performing different parts of the whole genome sequencing workflow.

CDC’s lead group for the use of molecular subtyping in the national and international surveillance of foodborne infections


  • Managing PulseNet—helping all states to detect, investigate, and control outbreaks
  • Partnering with reference laboratories throughout the world
  • Building capacity for molecular surveillance of foodborne infections


The National Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Team conducts antimicrobial resistance surveillance and applied research among foodborne enteric bacteria (pathogens and commensal organisms). Susceptibility testing and other analyses are performed on bacterial isolates from foodborne disease outbreaks, focus studies, and human isolate submissions to the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS). NARMS is a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA-CVM), and the United States Department of Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS). NARMS human isolate monitoring is conducted in partnership with the Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Surveillance Branch; FDA-CVM and USDA-ARS conduct studies on bacteria isolated from retail meats and food animals, respectively.

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The National Botulism Laboratory Team (NBLT) maintains CDC expertise for laboratory investigations of botulism, and provides training to U.S. and international public health laboratories. NBLT outbreak activities include detection and serotyping of botulinum neurotoxin, and the isolation and identification of botulinum-toxin-producing Clostridia. NBLT also develops and validates new detection and identification methods for the enhancement of the U.S. response to bioterrorism events involving botulinum toxin.

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The National Enteric Reference Laboratory Team is comprised of four Units: the Campylobacter Unit; Escherichia, Shigella, Yersinia, and Vibrio Unit; the Salmonella Unit; and the Listeria Identification and Subtyping Unit. The Reference Laboratory Team contributes to the prevention of foodborne and diarrheal diseases in the United States and abroad by facilitating detection, identification and characterization of enteric bacterial pathogens. Members of the Team accomplish this goal by providing reference diagnostic services for unusual or difficult to identify bacteria and by providing consultation and training to empower our public health partners at local, national and international levels to provide quality diagnostic services to their constituents and reliable surveillance data upon which sound public health decisions can be made. To sustain our ability to provide quality service, the National Enteric Reference Laboratory Team conducts applied research to better understand the biology, pathogenesis and epidemiology of enteric bacterial pathogens and to develop improved diagnostic methods for their detection and characterization.

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PulseNet USA logoPulseNet is a national laboratory network that connects foodborne illness cases to detect outbreaks. PulseNet uses DNA fingerprinting of bacteria making people sick to detect thousands of local and multistate outbreaks. Since the network began in 1996, PulseNet has improved our food safety systems through identifying outbreaks early. This allows investigators to find the source, alert the public sooner, and identify gaps in our food safety systems that would not otherwise be recognized. PulseNet International performs a similar role for foodborne illnesses globally.

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