Surveillance and Data Systems

CDC uses several surveillance systems to track reports of foodborne, waterborne, and animal contact diseases in the United States. Most often, information in these systems comes from state and local health agencies. Although some of these systems have been used extensively for decades, new surveillance methods have improved the quality, quantity, and timeliness of their data. The surveillance systems described below play an important role in detecting and preventing disease and outbreaks.

Foodborne Disease Surveillance

Foodborne Disease Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet)

FoodNet logo

FoodNet conducts surveillance in 10 sites—making up about 15% of the U.S. population—for infections from eight bacterial and parasitic pathogens transmitted commonly through food and for hemolytic uremic syndrome. FoodNet provides a foundation for food safety policy and prevention efforts in the United States in the following ways:

  • Estimating the number of foodborne illnesses
  • Monitoring changes in how often they occur over time
  • Attributing illnesses to specific foods and settings

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Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System (FDOSS)

FDOSS collects data on foodborne disease outbreaks, defined as the occurrence of two or more cases of a similar illness resulting from consuming a common food. FDOSS provides insights into the germs and foods that cause illness and the settings where contaminated foods are prepared.

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National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System for Enteric Bacteria (NARMS)

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NARMS is an interagency public health surveillance system that tracks antimicrobial resistance in foodborne and other enteric (intestinal) bacteria from humans, retail meats, and food animals in the United States. Resistant bacteria resist the effects of drugs—that is, the germs are not killed, and their growth is not stopped. The NARMS program at CDC helps protect public health by providing information about resistance in bacteria isolated from ill people, the ways in which resistance is spread, and how resistant infections differ from susceptible (nonresistant) infections.

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National Electronic Norovirus Outbreak Network (CaliciNet)

CaliciNet is a national laboratory network focused on norovirus, the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis and foodborne illness in the United States. The network plays an important part in quickly identifying norovirus outbreaks, linking outbreaks to a common source (such as contaminated food), monitoring circulating norovirus strains, and identifying newly emerging strains. CaliciNet is linked to NORS. CaliciNet is managed by the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

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National Environmental Assessment Reporting System (NEARS)

NEARS is a surveillance system to capture environmental assessment data from foodborne illness outbreak investigations. Participating in NEARS can help prevent foodborne illness outbreaks associated with restaurants, banquet facilities, schools, and other institutions and can help food safety programs meet the Food and Drug Administration’s Retail Food Program Standards (Standard 5 pdf icon[PDF – 5 pages]external icon). NEARS is run by CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health.

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National Surveillance of Bacterial Foodborne Illnesses

CDC conducts national surveillance for illnesses caused by bacterial enteric pathogens. State and territorial public health agencies report data on these illnesses to CDC, which uses the data to detect outbreaks, monitor trends, and measure how well prevention programs are working. CDC collects basic information about every illness caused by Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), and Shigella, and detailed information about every botulism, cholera and other Vibrio, Listeria, and typhoid and paratyphoid fever illness.

Surveillance Reports:

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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 by 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.

CDC is creating an interactive dashboard to present foodborne surveillance data, including real-time data from PulseNet isolates. As an interim step, we will provide interim quarterly static reports of PulseNet data.

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System for Enteric Disease Response, Investigation, and Coordination (SEDRIC)

CDC, state and local health departments, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service use SEDRIC, a secure, web-based platform that combines epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback data in real time, to make collaboration easier and faster when investigating information from different sources.

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Animal Contact Outbreak Surveillance

Animal Contact Outbreak Surveillance System (ACOSS)

ACOSS collects information from state and local health departments about outbreaks of human enteric illness linked to contact with animals or their environments.

Animal contact outbreaks provide important insights into the way germs spread from animals to people. They also help us understand which germs are linked commonly to which animals and how we might prevent illnesses.

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Waterborne Disease Surveillance


CryptoNet is a molecular tracking system that collects information on cryptosporidiosis (Crypto), the diarrheal disease caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium. CryptoNet allows scientists to analyze samples of Cryptosporidium DNA from sick people and information about what the people were doing before they became sick. This helps CDC identify Crypto disease outbreaks for control and prevention of future illnesses.

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One Health Harmful Algal Bloom System (OHHABS)

OHHABS is a CDC reporting system that informs work to prevent people and animals from becoming sick from harmful algal blooms (HABs). Health departments work with their human, animal, and environmental health partners to detect, investigate, and report HABs and associated human and animal illnesses to OHHABS.

OHHABS is a voluntary reporting system that collects data on:

  • Human illnesses caused by HABs
  • Animal illnesses caused by HABs
  • Environmental data about HABs

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Waterborne Disease and Outbreak Surveillance System (WBDOSS)

WBDOSS collects data on waterborne disease and outbreaks associated with recreational water, drinking water, environmental, and undetermined water exposures.

Surveillance Reports:

Online Data Tool:

  • WBDOSS is connected to NORS. Use NORS Dashboard to search for information on waterborne disease outbreaks reported to CDC.

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Wastewater Surveillance

National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS)

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NWSS is a new public health tool to understand COVID-19 spread in communities using wastewater data.

Wastewater can be tested for RNA from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. State, tribal, local, and territorial health departments can submit wastewater testing data into the national NWSS database. Public health officials can use NWSS data to rapidly identify presence and trends of COVID-19 within a community and get a head start on preventing its spread.

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National Outbreak Reporting System

NORS Dashboard is a web-based tool for searching and accessing outbreak information reported to NORS.

National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS)

NORS is a web-based platform that U.S. health departments use to report outbreak information to CDC. Through NORS, CDC collects reports of enteric disease outbreaks caused by bacterial, viral, parasitic, chemical, toxin, and unknown germs. NORS also collects reports of foodborne and waterborne disease outbreaks that are not enteric. NORS is managed by the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

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