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Volume 11, Number 1—January 2005


Capacity of State and Territorial Health Agencies to Prevent Foodborne Illness

Richard E. Hoffman*Comments to Author , Jesse Greenblatt†, Bela T. Matyas‡, Donald J. Sharp§, Emilio Esteban¶, Knachelle Hodge*, and Arthur Liang§
Author affiliations: *Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; †New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Concord, New Hampshire, USA; ‡Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; §Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; ¶U.S. Department of Agriculture, Alameda, California, USA

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Table 2

Barriers to investigating foodborne disease in state and territorial health departments

Question n % yes % no % not sure
Of the outbreaks that are not investigated, which factors most limit your 
ability to investigate? (list all that apply) 48
  Delayed notification 83
  Limited staff 67
  Lack of apparent importance 46
  Laboratory capacity 21
  Jurisdictional issues 19
  Political consideration 13
  Expertise 13
  Other 13
  Travel policy constraints 11
  Statistical support 8
  Ability to pay overtime


In outbreaks in which food specimens were not submitted, what 
were the barriers to laboratory testing? 47
  Leftovers not available 98
  Wrong food collected 32
  Unnecessary 17
  Other 13
  No capability for food testing, i.e., laboratory equipment 11
  Insufficient expertise at laboratory 6
  Too expensive


Do you feel there are barriers for conducting more active case surveillance? 48 88 8 4
If yes, which of the following reasons apply: (list all that apply) 42
  Lack of staff 81
  Too time-consuming 60
  Other 33
  Low priority 29
  Lack of expertise 12

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