Foodborne and Waterborne Outbreak

​​​This manual provides guidance in investigating outbreaks related to foodborne or waterborne illness. Specific topics include the steps in investigating an outbreak, instructions on the collection of clinical, food and water samples, and directions for preparation of the final report.

Download a complete copy of the Kentucky Foodborne and Waterborne Outbreak Investigation Manual. Links to each chapter are included below.

Chapter 1. Outbreak Definition and Quick Reference Guides

  1. What is an outbreak?
  2. Purpose of the outbreak investigation
  3. Steps in investigating an outbreak
  4. Flowchart of an outbreak investigation
  5. Health care provider guidelines for reporting suspected foodborne outbreak related illness
  6. Health care provider guidelines for reporting suspected waterborne outbreak related illness
  7. Triggers for activation of plan

Chapter 2. Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Outline of responsibilities
  2. Responsibility flowcharts

Chapter 3. Steps in Investigating an Outbreak

  1. Preparing for an outbreak investigation and field work
  2. Confirm the existence of an epidemic or outbreak
  3. Verify the diagnosis
  4. Define a case and identify and count cases
  5. Describe the data in terms of person, place and time
  6. Develop hypotheses
  7. Evaluate hypotheses (analyze and interpret the data)
  8. Refine hypotheses and carry out additional studies
  9. Implement control and prevention measures
  10. Communicate the findings, write a report and enter into the National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS)

Chapter 4. Development of the Final Report

  1. The report
  2. Purpose of the report
  3. Outbreak report format
  4. After action report
  5. Examples of reports

See Also...

Additional Resources

Disease Prevention Resources