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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 3

Staffing in epidemiology programs for foodborne disease surveillance and investigation

Question n % yes % no % not sure
For sporadic cases, do you have enough people to: 48
Compare to standardized case definition 85 15
Enter data 79 19 2
Review data for consistency and completeness

During outbreaks, do you have enough people to: 48
Compare to standardized case definition 90 10
Enter data 73 19 8
Review data for completeness and consistency

In your enteric/foodborne disease epidemiology program, do you have sufficient statistical support?
Do you have a dedicated enteric/foodborne disease epidemiologist at your agency? 48 48 50 2
If yes to question above, what is the highest level of education of the epidemiologist? 23
Masters degree 61
Doctoral degree 26
Bachelor degree


During an outbreak investigation, do epidemiologists routinely accompany environmental health/sanitation specialist(s)? 48 44 50 6
Is there a 24-hour on-call response mechanism for foodborne disease issues? 48 96 4
Can you get public health laboratory support 24/7/365? 48 81 15 4
Can you get environmental health/sanitation support 24 hours per day? 48 60 23 17
Do your epidemiologists receive training in environmental food facility inspections? 48 13 85 2
Do your environmental health/sanitation specialists receive training in epidemiology? 48 63 33 4

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