Food safety groups unveil outbreak response guidance

first_imgJul 15, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – A national consortium of groups that have a stake in managing foodborne illness outbreaks today released guidelines for outbreak response, a document that includes model practices for each investigation stage, giving local and state officials a baseline for assessing their current procedures. However, he said public officials’ willingness to implement the model practices will be the factor that improves the nation’s overall outbreak response. “As noted in the forward, it will only be as effective as our commitment to turn the guidelines into action,” he said. He said the CIFOR guidelines also give local and state officials a solid framework for achieving federal standards that address outbreak response. In a nutshell, the guidance promotes faster and better response methods that revolve around better communication and more uniform reporting between local and state officials, he said. For example, surveillance systems and incident logs should be compiled in a manner that’s easily accessible to other agencies. “This truly would identify patterns that aren’t being identified now,” Holmes said. Scott E. Holmes, manager of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department’s environmental public health division in Lincoln, Neb., told CIDRAP News that it took 2 years to develop the guidelines, which underwent rounds of extensive review and modification. Holmes is NACCHO’s representative on CIFOR. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) today praised the new CIFOR guidelines. Tom Vilsack, USDA secretary, said in an HHS statement that was e-mailed to journalists that improving food safety is one of President Obama’s top priorities. In the overview section, the authors state that the guidelines are meant to be flexible and include a range of approaches with the rationale for each of them. For example, the guidance details the role of the Incident Command System (ICS), but acknowledges that not all agencies use this system. See also: Applying the guidelines isn’t going to be a major cost for local and state departments, he predicted. “It’s more a matter of doing the actions correctly,” he said, adding that adopting a model practice for some can be as simple as reorganizing how the response work gets done. Jul 7 CIDRAP News story “Officials release food safety plan, egg safety rules” Jul 15 CIFOR press releasecenter_img “The guidelines show that by working together, we can all dramatically improve our food safety system and further protect the public health,” she said. “We hope to further this collaborative effort through the Food Safety Working Group.” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius thanked CIFOR for its vital contribution toward food safety. Sebelius and Vilsack cochair Obama’s food safety group. In March Obama created a Food Safety Working Group, and on Jul 7 it announced its key steps for improving food safety, which included tougher standards to reduce Salmonella contamination, tighter enforcement at beef facilities, building a new trace-back and response system, and improving federal food safety oversight. CIFOR guidelines for foodborne outbreak response The guidelines start with a chapter on the fundamental concepts of surveillance and foodborne disease, followed by sections on planning, outbreak detection, investigation, and control measures. It also includes sections on specific topics such as multijurisdictional outbreaks, legal considerations, and performance indicators for foodborne disease programs. The group that authored the 200-page guidance report, the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR), is a multidisciplinary partnership of seven professional organizations and three federal agencies that seek to increase collaboration among a range of food safety officials. Its cochairs are the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). “The main thing is that this provides state and local departments with the best practices,” Holmes said, adding that there are currently no standardized methods for conducting a foodborne outbreak investigation. For example, some local and state departments use a shotgun approach with their food exposure surveys, while others typically use more targeted survey methods. Some states subtype isolates from patient specimens and submit them to national databases as soon as they receive them, rather than batching them. “Last week the Obama Administration took an important step forward by introducing tougher standards to reduce Salmonella contamination and E coli outbreaks, and the guidelines announced today will help government further that goal,” he said. Craig Hedberg, PhD, a foodborne disease expert at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, who wrote three of the guideline chapters and was a member of the CIFOR guidance work group, said the new document will serve as a yardstick for measuring future outbreak response activities.last_img read more

Wisconsin rewrites record books

first_imgUniversity of Wisconsin men’s basketball head coach Bo Ryan entered the post-game press conference with an ice bag in hand following his team’s 92-39 annihilation of Southern (0-2, 0-0 SWAC). The coach then joked about being hurt watching a play by guard Mickey Perry, who performed a dizzying succession of moves, feigning a neck injury. The laugher on the court was punctuated by laughter in the media room.”I actually hurt myself,” Ryan said, punctuating the statement with a several ooh’s and groans. “I have never seen 18 moves on one play in my life.”In what many are hoping will be a memorable season in Wisconsin basketball, the Badgers made a little bit of history early on in the season, as the 53-point margin of victory it was the second largest ever for UW, only trailing a 55-point win over Denver Dec. 14, 1988.The beating was so sound that Southern head coach Rob Spivery questioned how much the Badgers (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) could’ve gotten out of such a win.”It is very disappointing for us to travel the distance we traveled so far and not compete,” Spivery said. “I’m not sure if Bo and his team got anything out of this tonight, because of the competitiveness of our team.”The Badgers took over the game early, jumping out to a 32-8 lead, making 13 of their first 18 shots and burying the Jaguars before they even had chance to refill their Gatorade bottles. UW built a 50-19 halftime lead by spreading the ball around and taking advantage of Southern’s flimsy ballhandling.The Jaguars coughed up the ball 13 times in the first half alone, and Wisconsin capitalized, outscoring Southern 20-0 off turnovers in the first half alone and 37-6 for the game. The Jags ended the game with just three assists and 25 turnovers.”We had too many unforced turnovers,” Spivery said. “For some reason, we did not protect the basketball.””[Southern] was young and some of the decisions they made obviously helped us,” Ryan said, adding that he was pleased that his team managed those turnovers without getting out of their regular defense. “It wasn’t because we were doing things that we don’t normally do defensively.”The Badgers didn’t take their foot off the gas in the second half, adding 22 points onto their lead and making a run for 100 points, before slowing down in the final minutes.Three Wisconsin players — Alando Tucker, Brian Butch and Michael Flowers — scored in double figures with 16, 12 and 11 points respectively, and four more chipped in eight points.The Badger offense was cruelly efficient, shooting 62.3 percent for the game. “A lot of time shooting percentages is what kind of shots you’re settling for,” Ryan said. “I thought we were settling for very good shots. And they were going in.”For their part, the Badgers believed that they gained valuable experience in game.”Some teams, a lot of times when they get up like that they start to lose focus,” senior guard Kammron Taylor said. “Even though we were up a lot, we still tried to work on things that are going to help us down the stretch against tougher competition.””I thought we stayed true to the game,” Ryan said. “When you have a lead like that, a lot of times you get bad habits and you do things that take away from what you’ve been working on.”The win over Southern was the first of four games Wisconsin will play this week as part of the South Padre Island Invitational, which will continue in Madison Tuesday night when UW takes on Delaware State before finishing in South Padre, Texas, over Thanksgiving Break. The busy week is welcomed by players.”I’d rather play games than practice. Our practices are hard,” Tucker said, also appreciating the experience factor that goes into playing in-season tournaments. “When you can play a tournament early on, it prepares you for what can happen in March.”last_img read more