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Foodborne Illness Surveillance

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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.

Additional Resources

Service Details: 
Service Contact: 
Center for Policy, Planning and Evaluation Division of Epidemiology-Disease Surveillance and Investi
Contact Phone: 
(202) 442-9150
Contact Fax: 
(202) 442-8060
Contact TTY: 
711
Contact Suite #: 
5th Floor
Office Hours: 
Monday to Friday 8:15 am to 4:45 pm
Service Location: 

Health, Department of

GIS Address: 
899 North Capitol Street, NE
City: 
Washington
State: 
DC
Zip: 
20002