Public health: Are we too slow?

From the CDC’s Public Health Matters Blog:

One of the many roles of public health is to protect consumers from threats like foodborne outbreaks. Much of this hinges on quickly getting out clear messages to the public that provide simple steps to help stem the spread of disease. This is something public health professionals have been doing for over a hundred years, but a recent outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg got us wondering, “Are we doing enough to keep the public safe? Are we too slow? And, How can we improve?”

That’s not to say there weren’t triumphs in this outbreak, but like most responses we had a moment of self-reflection when the crisis was over and we were able to take a step back and consider our methods. What we found was a need for stronger policies and faster messaging to the public.

Between June 2012 and January 2013 epidemiologists with Oregon Public Health, along with the Washington State Department of Health, CDC, and the US Department of Agriculture independent of each other, began noting increases in the number of Salmonella infections. Thanks to surveillance systems like CDC’s Pulsenet and National Retail Monitoring System (NARMS), epidemiologists were able to narrow down the specific genetic make-up of the Salmonella in question (Salmonella Heidelberg) and link it to raw or undercooked Foster Farms brand chicken.

Read the complete blog post here.

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