The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that "each year 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases" in the United States. Foodborne disease outbreaks contribute to this burden and are important public health events. Foodborne disease outbreaks are reported to the California Department of Public Health, by local health departments. The causes of foodborne disease outbreaks include bacteria and bacterial toxins, viruses, chemicals (toxins and metals), and parasites.
To prevent and control foodborne illness, information from foodborne outbreak investigations is used by public health professionals to:
- identify and remove contaminated products from sale
- identify and correct faulty food-handling and food-production practices
- understand how foodborne diseases are caused and spread
- detect new foodborne disease-causing agents and
- develop food safety programs and policies.
The "Foodborne Diseases and Outbreaks" page provides links to news releases and hot topics, fact sheets, yearly summary reports on specific foodborne diseases, epidemiologic summaries, data and surveillance reports, prevention and control information, and other useful resources.