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How should a suspected foodborne disease outbreak be reported?  How YOU can help.



If you believe that more than one person has become ill with gastrointestinal symptoms (such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps) from a common food exposure, please report this occurrence to your local health department (click here for a link to find your local health department).  

In order to investigate a suspected foodborne disease outbreak, staff from the local health district will need to collect information from you by asking several questions.



By providing this key information, you will help to start the investigation:

  • Where were you before you became ill?  (Eating a restaurant, party at friend’s house, etc.)
  • Please provide the date, time, and exact location of above situation.
  • What foods were there to eat?
  • How many people attended the event?
  • Describe the symptoms of the illness, including when (date and time) you first felt sick.
  • How long (hours or days) were you sick?
  • Did you see a doctor (through your regular primary care physician, emergency room, or urgent care)?  If yes, did they collect any stool? 
  • If they collected stool, were there any results from testing?  What were they (positive or negative and for what germ)?
  • Please provide your name, address, and phone number in case we need additional information.
  • Do you know of other people that attended the event and became sick?
  • Could you provide contact information for the situation you described above (your friend’s information, the restaurant, etc.)?


You may also be asked to:

  • Give the health department’s contact information to others that became ill following this event.

This information is used to estimate the size of the outbreak.


Last Updated: 04/23/2013