The 8th Annual OutbreakNet Meeting was held Atlanta, GA, August 27-30, 2012 in conjunction with the 16th Annual PulseNet Update Meeting. Nearly 400 laboratorians, epidemiologists and environmental health professionals from the United States, Canada, Australia, South Korea and Denmark participated in the joint meeting.  Participants represented international, federal, state and local public health and food regulatory agencies.

The theme for this year’s meeting was “Modernizing Outbreak Detection Through Teamwork.” The meeting was opened on August 27th with welcome and introductory remarks from Dr. Charles Brokopp, President of APHL and Dr. Jennifer Wright, CDC.  The keynote address was given by Eric Schlosser, journalist and writer, who spoke on “Private Interests and Public Health”.

On Tuesday, August 28th, Dr. Chris Braden, Director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, provided opening remarks for a day and a half of combined sessions for PulseNet and OutbreakNet meeting participants. On Wednesday the 29th, PulseNet and OutbreakNet Conference attendees participated in joint Breakout Sessions for additional discussion, as well as a Poster Session.  At noon on the 29th PulseNet and OutbreakNet separated into concurrent sessions.  OutbreakNet attendees heard from state and local colleagues during “Stories from the States”, a session with state submitted abstracts. 

This meeting further strengthened PulseNet and OutbreakNet networks by sharing information on new methods, technology and experiences.  Moreover, new partnerships among laboratorians, epidemiologists and environmental health specialists were formed and existing relationships were enhanced through the numerous networking opportunities during the meeting.

Throughout the meeting, discussions were held surrounding the challenges that face our current food safety system and the innovations and new approaches that can be utilized in the changing landscape of food safety.

For more information on the Annual OutbreakNet Conference or for inquires related to OutbreakNet activities, please contact CDC’s OutbreakNet team at

Slide Presentations

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Monday, August 27

Welcome Session
Moderators: Kristy Kubota, Molly Freeman, Jennifer Wright

Welcome to Atlanta
Jennifer Wright, CDC

Welcome from APHL President and Director 
Charles Brokopp, WI State Laboratory of Hygiene and Univ. of WI

Keynote Address: Private Interests and Public Health
Eric Schlosser, Atlantic Monthly 

Tuesday, August 28

Sunrise Sessions

PFGE Protocols for Non-PulseNet Organisms
Duncan MacCannell and Lydia Anderson, CDC

Epi 101 for Laboratorians
Karon Lewis and Dagny Magill, AL and Meg Adams-Cameron, NM

Planning and Conducting Environmental Investigations
Dave Nicholas, NY and Heidi Kassenborg, NM

Managing Non-human Isolate Data
Brian Sauders, NY Ag, David Melka, FDA and Neelam Narang, FSIS

Standardizing the E. coli Questionnaire
Wright Culpepper, CDC

Opening Session

Introduction to Meeting Theme
Chris Braden, CDC

Session I:  The 2011 Listeriosis Outbreak Associated with Cantaloupe:  A Team Approach to Investigating an Historic Outbreak
Moderators: David Melka, Tracy Stiles, Ian Williams

Rapid Investigation of a Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis Associated wiith Farm A Cantaloupes Using the Listeria Initiative – United States, August – October 2011        
Ben Silk, CDC
Panel Discussion:  Perspectives on a Multistate Foodborne Outbreak
Moderator - Ian Williams, CDC
Epidemiologist’s perspective, Shaun Cosgrove, CO
Laboratory perspective, Cheryl Tarr, CDC
Industry perspective, Stephen Patricio, Westside Produce
Communications Expert, Dana Pitts, CDC
FDA perspective, Jim Gorny, FDA 
Media perspective, Eric Schlosser, Atlantic Monthly

WebPortal Demonstration
David Boxrud, MA, WebPortal Working Group

Session II:  Foodborne Outbreak Communication:  What, How, and When
Moderators:  Jen Mitchell, Joshua Rounds, Brian Sauders

A State Perspective on Foodborne Outbreak Investigation Communications           
Bill Keene, OR Public Health Services

The FSIS Perspective When Communicating Outbreak Investigations
Vivian Chen , Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA

Industry Perspective 
Michael Doyle, Center for Food Safety, UGA

What the Media Needs from You during a Foodborne Illness Outbreak and Why
Elizabeth Weise, USA Today

Panel Discussion
With session presenters and Barb Kowalczyk, NC State

Session III:  Legally Blonde or Legally Blind?  How Surveillance and Outbreak Investigations Are Impacted by the Law
Moderators: L. Hannah Gould, Julia Hall, Roshan Reporter, Amber Schmidtke

FSIS Regulatory Perspective
Rachel Edelstein, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA
Understanding Laws Governing Foodborne Disease Outbreak Investigations
Pat Elliott, Logan Circle Policy Group

Understanding the Commonality of Interests between Public Health Officials and Industry in Identifying, Correcting and Preventing Outbreaks
Donald R. Becker, Yum! Brands, Inc.

Liability of Public Agencies and Their Employees in Foodborne Illness Investigations  
Bill Marler, Marler-Clark Law Firm

Wednesday, August 29

Sunrise Sessions

Lab 101 for Epidemiologists
Steve Dietrich, MI, Julia Wolfe, CA and Rebekah Berry, OK

Update on Salmonella Reporting
Patti Fields, CDC

WebPortal Demonstration
Tracy Stiles

Ingredient Driven Outbreaks
Wright Culpepper

FDA: Rapid Response Teams 101
Seth Levine, VA, Heidi Kassenborg, MN, Steve Fuller, WA

Session IV:  The Future of Testing and Outbreak Detection:  The Future Is Now
Moderators: Deb Baker, Neelam Narang, Kim Quinn, Dianna Schoonmaker-Bopp

PulseNet on the High-wire
Efrain Ribot, CDC

STEC Characterization:  Current and Future Methods 
Nancy Strockbine, CDC

Use of Next-Generation Sequencing to Augment Characterization of Salmonella enterica strains Associated with Contamination of the Food Supply 
Eric Brown, FDA    

Regional  Breakout Sessions

Session V:  FDA: Commissioning and Commercial Confidentiality
Moderator: Susan Lance
- Ryan Cates, FDA

Session VI: Stories from the States
Moderator: Leah Eisenstein

Salmonellosis Associated with Exposure to Live Animal Slaughter Markets
Amy Saupe, MN

Multi-State Outbreak of Salmonella Bovismorbificans Associated with Mediterranean-style Restaurants – United States, 2011 
Tiana Garrett, WDC

Salmonella Heidelberg Outbreak in Broiled Chicken Livers – A Common PFGE Pattern Within a Distinct Community 
Heather Hanson, NYC

An Analysis of Epidemiologic Responses to Pulse-Field Gel Electrophoresis Clusters, Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), 2009-2011
Nupur Sashti, TN

Evaluation of Salmonella Cluster Detection and Investigations in New York City
HaeNa Waechter, NYC

Shiga Toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak in Unlicensced Daycare Center - Tennessee, 2012
Katie Garman, TN

Salmonella Typhimurium Outbreak Linked to Restaurant Salad Dressing 
Bradley Thompkins, VT

Walking Tacos, South Dakota Trotters – A Novel Methods for Empowering a Community for Outbreak Investigations 
Nicholas Hill, SD

Thursday, August 30

Session VII:  Beyond Food: Water, People and Animals
Moderators: Leah Eisenstein , Jonathon Yoder

The Epidemiology of Waterborne Diseases
Julie Marie Gargano, CDC

Recreational Water Illness
Michelle Hlavsa, CDC

Turtlepocalypse 2012
Latoya Simmons, CDC

Water Testing During Foodborne, Waterborne and Zoonotic Disease Outbreak Investigations 
Vincent Hill, CDC

Environmental Health Investigations During Outbreaks
Max Zarate-Bermudez, CDC

Comprehensive Surveillance for Enteric Disease Outbreaks Through NORS
Aron Hall

Session VIII:  CIFOR Toolkit: Stories from the Frontline
Moderators: Shaun Cosgrove, Don Sharp

CIFOR Overview
Bill Keene, OR

Philadelphia’s Experience
Yvette Khachadourian, Philadelphia

Washington State’s Experience
Jasmine Matheson, WA

Session IX:  Sharepoint Demonstration
Moderator: Latoya Simmons, CDC
Colin Schwensohn, CDC

Session X:  Regulatory Updates
Moderators: Regina Tan, Susan Lance

Carla Tuite, FDA

Vivian Chen, USDA

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