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Am J Epidemiol. 2011 Dec 1;174(11 Suppl):S23-35. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwr308.

Overview of the impact of epidemic-assistance investigations of foodborne and other enteric disease outbreaks, 1946-2005.

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  • 1Atlanta Research and Education Foundation, 723 Cramer Avenue, Lexington, KY 40502, USA.


Epidemic-assistance investigations (Epi-Aids) in response to outbreaks of foodborne and other enteric pathogens have identified novel pathogens, clinical syndromes, and sequelae; described new reservoirs and vehicles of transmission; evaluated existing prevention strategies; and identified deficiencies in the food safety systems on local, national, and international levels. Since the first Epi-Aid was issued in 1946, approximately 23% (1,023 of 4,484 for which investigations were initiated) of all Epi-Aids have been related to foodborne or other enteric diseases. Epi-Aid results have yielded valuable insights into the epidemiology of these pathogens and have molded prevention strategies for detecting, responding to, and preventing future outbreaks. New challenges, brought about in part by centralization and globalization of the food supply, will continue to emerge. The need for Epi-Aids of such outbreaks undoubtedly will persist as an integral part of future public health response efforts, prevention strategies, and training programs.

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