Foodborne illness

Foodborne illness, or “food poisoning,” is caused by the consumption of food or drinks that have been contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins or chemicals. Typical symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.

The MDPH Epidemiology Program works with local boards of health (LBOH) to investigate reported cases of foodborne illness. Epidemiologists analyze surveillance data for trends and identify clusters with common sources (outbreaks). Clusters are also identified via laboratory analysis. The MDPH Working Group for Foodborne Illness Control (WGFIC) is composed of representatives from the Epidemiology Program, the Food Protection Program, and the State Public Health Laboratory. WGFIC members collaborate to investigate outbreaks and implement control measures. Multi-state clusters involve collaboration with other state health departments and with federal partners including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

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