[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We reviewed timeline information for a sample of Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., Campylobacter spp., and Escherichia coli O157:H7 cases and all confirmed foodborne outbreaks reported in 6 states during 2002. Increasing the timeliness of case follow-up, molecular subtyping, and linkage of results are critical to reducing delays in the investigation of foodborne outbreaks.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The capacity of state and territorial health departments to investigate foodborne diseases was assessed by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists from 2001 to 2002 with a self-administered, Web-based survey. Forty-eight health departments responded (47 states and 1 territory). The primary reason for not conducting more active case surveillance of enteric disease is lack of staff, while the primary reasons for not investigating foodborne disease outbreaks are limited staff and delayed notification of the outbreak. Sixty-four percent of respondents have the capacity to conduct analytic epidemiologic investigations. States receiving Emerging Infections Program (EIP) funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more often reported having a dedicated foodborne disease epidemiologist and the capability to perform analytic studies than non-EIP states. We conclude that by addressing shortages in the number of dedicated personnel and reducing delays in reporting, the capacity of state health departments to respond to foodborne disease can be improved.