Foodborne disease outbreaks: guidelines for investigation and control

  • 01/12/2008
  • WHO

The investigation and control of foodborne disease outbreaks are multi-disciplinary tasks requiring skills in the areas of clinical medicine, epidemiology, laboratory medicine, food microbiology and chemistry, food safety and food control, and risk communication and management. Many outbreaks of foodborne disease are poorly investigated, if at all, because these skills are unavailable or because a field investigator is expected to master them all single-handedly without having been trained. These guidelines have been written for public health practitioners, food and health inspectors, district and national medical officers, laboratory personnel and others who may undertake or participate in the investigation and control of foodborne disease outbreaks. While the book focuses on practical aspects of outbreak investigation and control, it also provides generic guidance that can be adapted to individual countries and local requirements. At the field level it will be valuable in initial epidemiological, environmental and laboratory investigations, in implementation of appropriate control measures, and in alerting investigators to the need to seek assistance for more complex situations. At national and regional levels, the guidelines will assist decision-makers in identifying and coordinating resources and in creating an environment appropriate for the successful management of foodborne disease outbreaks.