DPH: Foodborne Pathogens Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet)



The Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) is the principal foodborne disease component of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC), Emerging Infections Program (EIP). FoodNet is a collaboration between CDC, ten EIP sites (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, New Mexico, Oregon, and Tennessee), the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

FoodNet is an active laboratory and population-based surveillance system to monitor the incidence of foodborne diseases and to conduct epidemiologic studies designed to help public health officials better understand the epidemiology of foodborne diseases of public health importance in the United States.

Objectives are to:

  • Determine the burden of foodborne illness in the United States
  • Monitor trends in the burden of specific foodborne illness over time
  • Attribute the burden of foodborne illness to specific foods and settings
  • Disseminate information that can lead to improvements in public health practice and the development of interventions to reduce the burden of foodborne illness

On-going surveillance is conducted for seven bacterial and two parasitic pathogens including: Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, Listeria, Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157 and other non-O157 STEC, Shigella, Vibrio and Yersinia. In addition, FoodNet sites conduct active surveillance for hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) (a serious complication of STEC infection).

Other FoodNet activities include:

Population survey - conducted to more precisely estimate the burden of acute diarrheal illness and to describe the frequency.

Survey of clinical laboratory practices - conducted to determine which pathogens are included in routine bacterial stool cultures, which tests must be specifically requested by the physician, and which specific techniques are used to identify the pathogens.

Physician survey – conducted periodically to understand current knowledge, attitudes, and practices of physicians within the surveillance area. Identification of a case of infection with a pathogen transmitted commonly through food depends upon accurate diagnosis by a healthcare provider and on appropriate laboratory testing.

Special studies – designed to determine what specific exposure caused a person with a sporadic infection to become ill. Although foodborne outbreaks are common, approximately 95% of foodborne infections occur as sporadic (non-outbreak) cases. Risk factors for sporadic infection can be explored through population-based studies. FoodNet conducts studies to examine the importance of various possible risky exposures (such as specific foods) and practices (such as food preparation and handling practices) as contributors to illness caused by specific pathogens.

FoodNet’s major contributions include:

  • the establishment of reliable, active population-based surveillance of enteric diseases;
  • development and implementation of epidemiologic studies to determine risk and protective factors for enteric infections;
  • population surveys that describe the features of gastrointestinal illnesses, medical care-seeking behavior, and food eating patterns;
  • laboratory surveys of current practices; and
  • development of a surveillance and research platform that can be adapted to address emerging issues.

The most up-to-date information for diseases under surveillance by FoodNet is found on the CDC website:

Bacterial Pathogens:
Parasitic Pathogens:

Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

FoodNet Links

U.S. Food & Drug Administration Data

Connecticut Statistics and Outcomes

To contact the Epidemiology and Emerging Infections Program, please call 860-509-7994.

Content Last Modified on 10/4/2016 1:19:37 PM