The Foodborne Illness Surveillance program is responsible for the surveillance and investigation of foodborne outbreaks and illnesses occurring in the District of Columbia. Foodborne illnesses are a major public health concern. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Each year 1 in 6 Americans gets sick by consuming contaminated foods or beverages
- Each year about 48 million people gets sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die
- More than 250 different foodborne illnesses have been described
- Most of these illnesses are infections caused by a variety of bacteria, viruses and parasites
When a foodborne illness outbreak is detected, DOH works with the DC Public Health Laboratory to collect as much information as quickly as possible to find out what is causing the illnesses and to take action to prevent more people from getting ill. The three types of information collected during an investigation include interview data from people who became ill and food establishment records (e.g., receipts from food purchased, menus). Food and environmental samples are frequently collected for laboratory testing to detect the presence of a pathogen that may be causing illness.
View additional information about foodborne illness outbreaks.
Reporting a Foodborne Illness
Physicians: To report a foodborne illness to the Department of Health, please complete the Communicable Disease Case Report Form [PDF], and fax the form along with a copy of the laboratory results to (202) 442-8060. You may also contact the Division of Epidemiology- Disease Surveillance and Investigation at (202) 442-9150.
Residents: To report an illness associated with food or a restaurant, contact the Division of Epidemiology-Disease Surveillance and Investigation at (202) 442-9150.
- View the DOH Food Safety page (includes a link to Food Establishment Inspection Reports)
- View a complete list of disease fact sheets offered by the Division of Epidemiology- Disease Surveillance and Investigation.
- For additional information about Foodborne Diseases, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
- For information on food recalls that involve meat, poultry or processed egg products, please visit the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website.
- To view a list of all other food recalls in the US, please visit the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website.
- Reportable Diseases in the District of Columbia [PDF]