Communicable Disease Profiles
Starting in 2013, the Division of Environmental Health Services will be profiling
a different communicable disease each month. Our goal is to raise awareness about
the prevention of foodborne, waterborne, and vector-borne diseases.
The “Disease of the Month” for October is Listeriosis. Please click on the
link below to read our fact sheet about Listeriosis – and check back in November for our next update!
October 2013 – Spotlight on Listeriosis
September 2013 – Spotlight on Naegleria fowleri
August 2013 – Spotlight on Coccidioidomycosis
July 2013 – Spotlight on Hepatitis A
June 2013 – Spotlight on Cryptosporidium
May 2013 – Spotlight on Shigella
April 2013 – Spotlight on Salmonella
March 2013 – Spotlight on Giardia
February 2013 – Spotlight on Norovirus
January 2013 – Spotlight on Campylobacter
How to prevent foodborne illness:
CLEAN: Wash produce. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables in running tap water
to remove visible dirt and grime. Remove and discard the outermost leaves of a head
of lettuce or cabbage. Because bacteria can grow well on the cut surface of fruit
or vegetable, be careful not to contaminate these foods while slicing them up on
the cutting board, and avoid leaving cut produce at room temperature for many hours.
Don't be a source of foodborne illness yourself. Wash your hands with soap and water
before preparing food. Avoid preparing food for others if you yourself have a diarrheal
illness. Changing a baby's diaper while preparing food is a bad idea that can easily
SEPARATE: Don't cross-contaminate one food with another. Avoid cross-contaminating
foods by washing hands, utensils, and cutting boards after they have been in contact
with raw meat or poultry and before they touch another food. Put cooked meat on
a clean platter, rather than back on one that held the raw meat.
COOK: meat, poultry, and eggs thoroughly. Using a thermometer to measure
the internal temperature of meat is a good way to be sure that it is cooked sufficiently
to kill bacteria: 145°F for whole meats (allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes
before carving or consuming), 158°F for ground meats, and 165°F for all poultry.
Eggs should be cooked until the yolk is firm.
CHILL: Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Bacteria can grow quickly at room
temperature, so refrigerate leftover foods if they are not going to be eaten within
4 hours. Large volumes of food will cool more quickly if they are divided into several
shallow containers for refrigeration.
Foodborne Illness Complaints
An outbreak of foodborne illness occurs when a group of people consume the same
contaminated food and two or more of them become sick with the same illness. It
may be a group of people that ate a meal together somewhere, or it may be a group
of people who all happened to buy and eat the same contaminated item from a grocery
store or restaurant. Symptoms from a foodborne illness can occur between several
hours and one week after eating contaminated foods. For an outbreak to occur, something
must have happened to contaminate a batch of food that was eaten by a group of people.
There are several causes of foodborne outbreaks. For example, a contaminated food
may be left out of room temperature for many hours, allowing the bacteria to multiply
to high numbers, and then be insufficiently cooked to kill the bacteria.
If you suspect that you have a food-related illness, please let us know by calling
1-800-442-2283 or by submitting a complaint online
. We encourage you to report
any potential food related to your illness. These reports allow us to investigate
potential outbreaks. Often, calls from concerned citizens are how outbreaks are
first detected. If a public health official contacts you to find out more about
an illness you had, your cooperation is important. In public health investigations,
it can be as important to talk to healthy people as to ill people. This cooperation
may be needed even if you are not ill.