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All Over the Map: A 10-Year Review of State Outbreak Reporting

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To better understand the current system of monitoring outbreaks of foodborne illness in the United States, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) analyzed 10 years of state outbreaks reported to CDC from 2003 to 2012. Such data is essential for monitoring and evaluating foodborne disease in the United States, enabling industry experts and government regulators to design more effective control strategies. All 50 states and the District of Columbia were analyzed and individual results are provided.

CSPI used the methodology originally developed for the 2011 All Over the Map report, which analyzed outbreaks from 1998 to 2007, to develop performance profiles for each state. We slightly modified that methodology to include only outbreaks within the reporting state, thus excluding multistate outbreaks. States are grouped into high to low reporting categories based on the per-capita number of outbreaks reported to CDC. A high per-capita outbreak reporting rate probably reflects a robust public health system. Differences between state performance ratings may represent differences in funding, staffing, and infrastructure. Low ratings may indicate reduced funding and overburdened or inadequately staffed public health departments.