Foodborne Illness Outbreak Investigation

The University of Delaware Food Science Program presents educational materials to teach the science of foodborne illness, prevention, and outbreak resolution. The materials were developed by UD food microbiologists with insight of an advisory board of secondary educators and support of a USDA award 3. The content is multifaceted with a presentation, case studies, video, and web-based activities.
  • The Power Point™ presentation, Introduction to Foodborne Illness and Surveillance for Foodborne Illness, features over 70 slides on basic food microbiology, disease surveillance and epidemiology. An audio file accompanies the presentation for more background information for the educator.
  • Case studies immerse students in the role of public health investigator in foodborne illness outbreak investigations. Case studies are based on actual outbreaks that occurred in the United States and which dramatically impacted scientific understanding and other societal issues of trade, economics, and regulations. Learning concepts of the case studies include the different etiologies of foodborne illness, experimental design, data collection and handling, epidemiology, food safety strategies, good agricultural practices, communication, societal impact and regulatory outcomes of foodborne illness outbreaks. Teacher and student versions are provided.
  • A video, Foodborne Illness Investigation – Behind the Scenes, presents principles of microbial biochemistry for laboratory detection and identification of foodborne pathogens. The 14-minute video features varied visual elements to illustrate laboratory techniques such as culturing, gene-based assays, and immunoassays with emphasis on the biochemical similarities and differences among foodborne viruses, bacteria, and protozoan parasites. [ Teacher Supplement to Video ]
  • Three sets of web games reinforce concepts presented in the presentation, case studies, and video.
    • Outbreak Investigation – the student uncovers clues to a case file by matching terms related to outbreak investigations. The student must show mastery of concepts and work quickly to avoid loss of clues!
    • Tile Sorter™ includes four different exercises to order the sequence of events in an investigation and in laboratory procedures.
    • StudyMate™ features ten different exercises based on a question and answer bank related to concepts of food microbiology, outbreak investigations, laboratory detection, safety strategies, and critical numbers and roles. All activities can be used by one player; the Challenge game allows two players.
*Some games may not be supported with Internet Explorer. 1 Scallan, E, et al. 2011. Foodborne illness acquired in the United States – major pathogens. Emerg. Inf. Dis. 17(1): 7-15. 2 Scallan, E, et al. 2011. Foodborne illness acquired in the United States – unspecified agents. Emerg. Inf. Dis. 17(1): 16-22. 3 These educational materials were prepared by the University of Delaware based upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, under Award No. 2009-38414-19698. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.