Traditional Surveillance

Effective foodborne-disease surveillance is critical to determine the frequency of cases, identify newly emerging pathogens, and isolate factors that contribute to the disease transmission.11 Traditional surveillance systems for foodborne illnesses rely on clinical microbiology laboratories reporting identified pathogens or suspected outbreaks to state health departments, which then report them to the CDC.24 This type of passive surveillance requires a person with a diarrheal illness to seek care from a physician who then in turn obtains a stool culture. The current underreporting of foodborne illnesses is a direct consequence of this interdependent chain of events where an elimination of even one step results in a case not being identified. 24 It is estimated that only 1 in 20 to 100 cases of Salmonella are reported to the CDC.11

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