What is a foodborne disease?

Foodborne diseases are the result of bacteria, viruses, prions, or chemicals entering the body through the gastrointestinal tract via infected food or water. This can occur in a variety of ways ranging from an infected person contaminating a food product, to undercooking meat or poultry, to improperly handling food during preparation or storage. The most common symptoms of foodborne diseases are nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), foodborne and waterborne diarrhea disease kill an estimated 2 million people annually. These are mostly children and particularly in developing countries. Unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of diarrhea and malnutrition, threatening the nutritional status of the most vulnerable. Climate change is also predicted to impact food safety, where temperature changes modify food safety risks associated with food production, storage and distribution.

How to avoid foodborne diseases?

Basic steps can be taken at home in order to protect yourself and those around you from acquiring a foodborne illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends four simple steps for maintaining proper food safety: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. To learn more, check out the CDC’s Four Steps to Food Safety.

What are common foodborne diseases?

Diseases that are caused by bacteria, parasites or viruses in food or drinking water include but are not limited to the following: Cholera, Cyclosporiasis, Escherichia coli (E. coli) infection, Giardiasis, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Listeriosis, Norovirus, Q fever, Salmonellosis, Shigellosis, Typhoid, and Vibrio infections1.

If you’d like to learn more about food safety and foodborne diseases, check out the World Health Organization’s fact sheet.

RSM’s Disease Surveillance and Reporting System: Improving Health of the Population through Better Systems

Foodborne diseases are included in RSM’s Disease Surveillance and Reporting Solution, or DSRS.  The DSRS is a disease surveillance, outbreak management, and reporting system that helps provide a “patient 360” degree view within a given jurisdiction, across Divisions or Departments within a jurisdiction. The system can be used for multiple diseases, infectious and chronic, and allows state or local agencies to view patients/cases regardless of point or nature of intake. For example, a case initially seen in a county or state for substance abuse or mental health would also be accessible by the epidemiologist and vice versa. A case of COVID-19, pneumococcal meningitis, or foodborne disease in a state or county could be monitored, evaluated, and managed in a single system. Simultaneously, support for supplemental nutrition or substance abuse can be logged and monitored. These are only a few examples of innovative solution architecture that allows the system to take on the important challenges of reducing the number of silos within a jurisdiction and supporting the creation of a healthier community through better design and use of information technology.

How to contact us:

If you’re interested in seeing RSM’s Disease Surveillance and Reporting System in action, please reach out to Dr Rohit Chitale for more information, or Contact us to explore our company and our Disease Management and Reporting solution.

1 https://epi.dph.ncdhhs.gov/cd/diseases/food.html


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