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Past Projects

 


Cluster Definitions Project
The implementation of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) for molecular subtyping of common foodborne pathogens has resulted in an increasing number of “localized clusters” being identified by states, and “multi-state clusters” being identified by CDC. Although these clusters represent potential foodborne disease outbreaks, there is no standard and useful definition of a cluster that has a reasonable predictive value for identifying an outbreak.

The purpose of this project is to identify key factors for successful cluster investigations. The goal will be to develop agent-specific cluster definitions that can increase the likelihood of identifying a common source for cluster investigations that are conducted.

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Foodborne Illness Complaint Workgroup
CIFOR wanted to learn about foodborne illness complaint systems that were currently in place across the nation with the possibility of building a national system, so the CIFOR Foodborne Illness Complaint Workgroup was created with the support of CDC, CSTE, and NEHA. Members include representatives from federal government agencies, state health departments, local health departments, state department of agriculture, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations. The Workgroup's purpose and objective is to obtain information about foodborne illness complaint systems, discuss the pros and cons of those systems as well as the pros and cons of building a national system, and then make a recommendation to CIFOR.

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Multi-Jurisdictional Guidelines
CIFOR determined that one priority project would be to develop guidelines for multi-jurisdictional outbreaks. The purpose of this project is to expand on previous work done outlining what should be done in multi-state outbreaks. The guidelines are meant to provide a framework to help local agencies, state agencies, and federal agencies, work more efficiently in outbreaks that cover more than one jurisdiction. Jurisdictions can be geographic in nature, but can also include involvement of different agencies in one locale. The guidelines will cover procedures that should be followed to identify, investigate, and conclude a multi-jurisdictional outbreak. They are divided by the level of the agency, from local health departments to the federal level.

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PulseNet Efficiency
PulseNet (the national molecular subtyping network for foodborne disease) and the foodborne disease surveillance programs it supports are arguably our nation's most effective systems for identifying and resolving unforeseen problems in our food and water supply. Over the last 10 years PulseNet findings have triggered a number of high profile national recalls of contaminated food totaling well over a hundred million pounds of product, and an even larger number of statewide or local public health actions. Yet, in spite of its successes, funding resources for PulseNet have experienced severe fiscal cuts in the past few years. The broad objectives of this project are to obtain an estimation of costs and benefits of the PulseNet system and associated foodborne disease epidemiology programs at multiple jurisdictional levels. These data can be used to demonstrate the value of PulseNet-driven surveillance and compel policy decision making to improve the efficiency of the system.

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Outbreak Training
CIFOR wanted to learn what types of foodborne disease outbreak detection and investigation training courses were currently offered across the nation with the goal to increase the availability of these courses, so the CIFOR Training Workgroup was created with the support of CDC, CSTE, and NEHA. Members include representatives from federal government agencies, state health departments, local health departments, and non-governmental organizations. The Workgroup's purpose and objective is to obtain information various foodborne disease outbreak detection and investigation training courses, evaluate the training courses, provide recommendations to address training gaps and areas of improvement based on the evaluations, and then make recommendations to CIFOR.

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