Foodborne Disease Outbreak | CDC

NOTE: A surveillance case definition is a set of uniform criteria used to define a disease for public health surveillance. Surveillance case definitions enable public health officials to classify and count cases consistently across reporting jurisdictions. Surveillance case definitions are not intended to be used by healthcare providers for making a clinical diagnosis or determining how to meet an individual patient’s health needs.

Clinical Description

Definition: An incident in which two or more persons experience a similar illness after ingestion of a common food, and epidemiologic analysis implicates the food as the source of the illness.

Symptoms of illness depend upon etiologic agent. Please see Appendix B, "Guidelines for Confirmation of Foodborne-Disease Outbreaks" in the MMWR.1

Laboratory Criteria For Diagnosis

Depends upon etiologic agent. Please see Appendix B, "Guidelines for Confirmation of Foodborne-Disease Outbreaks" in the MMWR.1

Comments

There are two exceptions: one case of botulism or chemical poisoning constitutes an outbreak.

References(s)

1. CDC. National outbreak reporting system (NORS). Available at https://www.cdc.gov/nors/.

2. MMWR 2000;49(No. SS-1)

3. CDC. Guide to confirming an etiology in foodborne disease outbreak. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/outbreaks/investigating-outbreaks/confirming_diagnosis.html.

Related Case Definition(s)

Page last reviewed: April 16, 2021