The InFORM 2015 Conference, a combined meeting of PulseNet, OutbreakNet and Environmental Health Specialists, was held in Phoenix, Arizona, November 17-20, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix hotel. The meeting drew over 475 laboratorians, epidemiologists and environmental health professionals from the United States and 8 other countries. Participants represented federal, state and local public health, food and environmental regulatory agencies.

Slide Presentations

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Open Sessions

Session I - PulseNet: PFGE
Session II - NORS
Session III - PulseNet: BioNumerics vs. 5.01, 6.6 and 7.5

Session IV - PulseNet: Next Generation Methods
Session V - Policy Analytics

Session VI - Detection and Response Matters: Building Capacity and Partnerships (RRTs, FoodCORE and CoE)

Session VII - How Can Antimicrobial Resistance Data Assist Outbreak Investigations?

Session VIII - SEDRIC Training Basic Skills

Session IX - SEDRIC Training Advanced Skill

Session X - Law Enforcement and Foodborne Illness Investigation

Session XI - Outbreak Investigations from an FSIS Perspective- Best Practices and Lessons Learned


Welcome Session and Keynote Address

- Chris Braden, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Cara Christ, Director, Arizona Department of Health Services
Keynote Address - Anthrax
- Paul Keim, Director, Division of Pathogen Genomics at Tgen, Endowed Chair in Microbiology, Northern Arizona University

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Combined Sessions

Moderator:  David Goldman (FSIS)
 - Alfred Almanza, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety

Session I
CDC, FSIS, FDA Accomplishments, Goals and Vision
Moderators:  Marguerite Pappaioanou (CDC), Susan Lance (FDA), Kristin Holt (FSIS), Eija Trees (CDC)

- Chris Braden (CDC)
- Kathleen Gensheimer (FDA)
- David Goldman (FSIS)

How the Advanced Molecular Detection Initiative (AMD) Will Transform the Microbiology Workflow
Moderators:  Molly Freeman (CDC), Dave Melka (FDA), John Dunn (TN)

- Is Whole Genome Sequencing Really Replacing Traditional Microbiology?, Peter Gerner-Smidt (CDC)
- From Phenotype to Genotype and Back Again: How WGS Is Transforming FDA’s Food Safety Laboratories, Ruth Timme (FDA)

Session II 
Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS)
Moderators:  Steven Stroika (CDC), Hannah Gould (CDC), Madhu Anand (NYS), Ruth Timme (FDA), Uday Dessai (FSIS)

- The NCBI Analysis Pipeline of Pathogen Genome Sequences to Support Real Time Investigations, Bill Klimke (NCBI)
-Everything in Sequence: Listeriosis Outbreak Investigations in the Era of WGS, Brendan Jackson (CDC)
- Regulatory Applications of WGS to Listeria monocytogenes: Persistence of Genotypes in Facilities, Errol Strain (FDA)
- The Application of WGS Data in Examining Listeria monocytogenes Harborage in Food Processing Environments, Glenn Tillman (FSIS)
- The Giving Tree: Using WGS for SE Surveillance- the Minnesota Lab-Epi Collaboration, Carlota Medus (MN) and Dave Boxrud (MN)

Lunch and Visiting with New Tools and Technology Expo, Vendors and Poster Session 
New Tools and Technology
- Tech Expo:  PulseNet web portal, SEDRIC, CIFOR lab-epi software, BioNumerics
- Vendor tables: Applied Maths, Inc., Bio-Rad Laboratories, Illumina, Inc., Luminex Corporation, SCIEX, Thermo Fisher Scientific
- Program Tables: FoodCORE and CoE, EHSNET, RRT, NORS, NVEAIS, FSIS, OutbreakNet Enhanced

Session III 
Two Notable Outbreaks of Listeria Infections – Caramel Apples and Ice Cream 
Moderators:  Carrie Rigdon (MN), David Nicholas (NYS), Colin Schwensohn (CDC)
Listeria in Caramel Apples (Communication aspect, environmental assessment)
- Outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes Infections Linked to Whole Apples Used in Commercially Produced, Prepackaged Caramel Apples — United States, 2014–2015, Amanda Conrad (CDC)
- Missouri Rapid Response Team, Response to Listeria monocytogenes in Caramel Apples, Mark Buxton (MO)
- Listeria monocytogenes Outbreak Associated with Caramel Apples, Monique Salter (FDA)

Listeria in Ice Cream
- What’s the Scoop? Multistate Outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes Infections Linked to Ice Cream Products - United States, 2010-2015, Amanda Conrad (CDC)
- A Multistate Investigation of Listeriosis Associated with Consumption of Ice Cream, Angela Fields (FDA)

Session IV   
Two Notable Outbreaks of Salmonella Infections –Chia Seed Powder and Chicken
Moderators:  Laura Gieraltowski (CDC), Brian Sauders (NYAg), Neelam Narang (FSIS), Beth Tolar (CDC)

Outbreak of Multiple Salmonella Serotype Infections Linked to Chia Seed Power

- International Outbreak of Multiple Salmonella Serotype Infections Linked to Sprouted Chia Powder, 2014 – The US Perspective, Kate Heiman (CDC)
- Outbreak of Multiple Salmonella Serotype Infections Linked to Sprouted Chia Seed Powder — Canada, 2014,Megan Hamel (Public Health Agency of Canada)
- International Outbreak of Multiple Salmonella Serotype Infections Linked to Sprouted Chia Powder, 2014 – The Canadian Food Safety Investigation, Leah Isaac (Canadian Food Inspection Agency)

Outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg Infections Associated with Chicken, 2013-2014

- Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg Infections Associated with Chicken Consumption – an Epidemiologic Investigation, Vi Peralta (CA)
- Salmonella Heidelberg Outbreak Associated with Chicken—a Regulatory Perspective, Stephanie Defibaugh Chavez (FSIS)
- Whole Genome Sequence Characterization of Salmonella Heidelberg Outbreak Associated with Chicken from 2013 - 2014, Heather Carleton (CDC)


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sunrise Sessions

Session I  - Salmonella Serotyping Using Traditional and New Methods: Discussion, Questions, and Answers  
Moderator:   Patti Fields (CDC)

Session II - PulseNet Web Portal
Moderator:  Deb Sheehan (CDC)

Session III - Advanced BioNumerics
Moderators:  Hannes Pouseele (Applied Maths), Steven Stroika (CDC), Heather Carleton (CDC) 

Session IV - Information Sharing between FDA and State, Local, Tribal, Territorial Officials: Commissioning and 20.88  Agreements
Moderators:  Travis Goodman (FDA), Lauren Yeung (FDA)

- Information Sharing between FDA and State, Local, Tribal, Territorial Officials: Commissioning and 20.88 Agreements, Patrick Clouser (FDA), Noelle Ojo (FDA)

Session V - What is Happening in Our Deli’s? Are We Safe? What Can We Do?
Moderators:  Ernie Julian (RI), Larry Ramdin (MA)

- FSIS Best Practices Guidance for Controlling Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in Retail Delicatessens, Kristin Holt (FSIS)
- Tracking Listeria monocytogenes in Retail Establishments: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Brian Sauders (NY Ag) 
- Retail Efforts at Listeria Control, Tim Mitchell (Publix)

Session VI - International Partners: Foodborne Disease Surveillance, Outbreak Detection and Investigation
Moderators:  Karen Neil (CDC), Matt Wise (CDC), Ian Williams (CDC)

Concurrent Sessions

Session I 
Late Breaker
Moderators:  Gwen Biggerstaff (CDC), Lauren Yeung (FDA), Hannah Gould (CDC)

- Outbreak of Norovirus gastroenteritis Associated with Multiple Retail Locations Supplied by a Central Commissary Kitchen: Detection Through Genetic Sequencing of Stools Submitted from Minnesota Foodborne Illness Hotline Callers, Amy Saupe(MN)
- Norovirus Outbreak Associated with Commercially Prepared Fruit Salad, Wisconsin, 2015, Amanda Kita-Yarbo (Madison & Dane County, WI)
- Human Cryptosporidiosis Outbreak Associated with Cattle Exposure, Virginia 2015, Jessica Rosner (VA)
- Recreational Camp-Associated Salmonella Heidelberg Outbreak Involving Cases from Multiple States – Colorado, 2015, Nicole Comstock (CO)
- Multi-state Outbreak of Salmonella Associated with Imported Raw Tuna, A Local Perspective, James Matthews, (Maricopa County, AZ)
- North Carolina’s Swift Response to its Largest Salmonella Outbreak in Recent History, Vanessa Greene (NC)
- Multi-state Outbreak of Multi-drug Resistant Salmonella I 4, [5], 12:i: - Infections Associated with Pork – Washington State, 2015, Vance Kawakami (EIS - WA)
- Multi-state Outbreak of Salmonella Poona Infections Linked to Imported Cucumbers, Mark Laughlin (EIS - CDC)

Session II 
Culture-Independent Diagnostic Testing (CIDT)
Moderators:   Lavin Joseph (CDC), Susan Lance (FDA), Robyn Atkinson (UT)

- Overview of CIDT Challenges and Opportunities, Peter Gerner-Smidt (CDC)
- Integration of CID-Related Microbiological Test Methods in FDA's Food Safety Laboratory: Current and Future Perspectives, Yi Chen (FDA)
- Benefits of Culture-Independent Diagnostic Testing to Public Health: A State Perspective, Mike Rauch (WI) 
- Epi Perspective from Tennessee, Tim Jones (TN)

Session III 
Sampling During an Outbreak
Moderators:  John Dunn (TN), Jennifer Adams (CDC), Latasha Allen (FSIS)

- Environmental Sampling as a Supplement for the Detection of Norovirus, Jan Vinje (CDC)
- Regulatory Outcomes Informed through Sampling, Bill Correll (FDA)

Moderators:  John Dunn (TN), Melanie Harris (IA)

- Challenges Detecting and Investigating U.S. Cyclosporiasis Cases and Outbreaks, with a Focus on the Outbreaks in 2013 – 2015, Rebecca Hall (CDC)
- Challenges with Foodborne Parasites, Alex da Silva (FDA)

Session IV 
One Health Outbreak – Salmonella Cotham and Kisarawe
Moderators:  Roshan Reporter (LA County), Venessa Cantu (TX), John Tilden (MI)

- Multi-strain Outbreak of Salmonella Cotham Associated with Bearded Dragons - Wisconsin's Perspective, Rachel Klos (WI)
- Investigating an Outbreak of Rare Salmonella Serotypes Linked to Pet Bearded Dragons – CDC Perspective, Lyndsay Bottichio (CDC)

Session V 
Regulatory Chain of Custody Challenges
Moderators:   Bonnie Kissler (FSIS), Christopher Yee (FDA), Larry Ramdin (MA) 

- FDA Sampling Guidance and Practices, Terri McConnell (FDA)
- FSIS Use of Results from Non-FSIS Laboratories, Shaun Smith and Stephanie Defibaugh-Chavez (FSIS)

Twists on Continued Salmonella Newport Outbreaks from Delmarva: Informational Tracebacks to Implicate Cucumbers as a New Vehicle, and Root Cause Analysis
Moderators:  Kirk Smith (CSTE), Brian Sauders (NyAg), Carrie Rigdon (MN)

- 2014 Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Newport Infections Associated with Cucumbers – Traceback and On-Farm Investigation, Kyle Shannon (MD)
- Salmonella Saintpaul Infections Linked with Imported Cucumbers – United States, 2013, Laura Gieraltowski (CDC)
- Root Cause Analysis and Controls Needed to Prevent Recurring Outbreaks, Ernie Julian (RI)

Session VI 
Next Generation Sequencing
Moderators:  Ashley Sabol (CDC), Dave Boxrud (MN), Matt Wise (CDC)

- Understanding the Basics of Whole Genome Sequencing, Heather Carleton (CDC)
- Listeria: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Sequencer, Brendan Jackson (CDC)
- Retrospective Outbreak Investigations Initiated by Product or Environmental Sampling, Kari Irvin (FDA)

Session VII 
Norovirus Sentinel Testing and Tracking Network (NoroSTAT) 
 Moderators:  Aron Hall (CDC), Jan Vinje (CDC), Katie Garman (TN)

- NoroSTAT: Implementing a Real-Time Norovirus Outbreak Surveillance System, Anita Kambhampati (CDC)
- Detecting Emerging Norovirus Strains, Leslie Barclay (CDC)
- NoroSTAT: Using NORSDirect to Streamline Outbreak Reporting, Rachel Klos WI)
- A State Laboratory’s Perspective on Real-time Norovirus Testing, Ginette Dobbins (MN)

Session VIII 
Discussion: Communication Challenges during Outbreaks
Moderators:  Laura Burnworth (CDC), Aaron Lavallee (FSIS), Gabrielle Johnston (FSIS), Kathleen Gensheimer (FDA)

Individual Conference Tracks

PulseNet Track 

Session I 
Whole Genome Sequencing Implementation at Public Health Labs 
Moderators:  Steve Dietrich (MI), Glenn Tillman (FSIS), Ailyn Perez-Osorio (WA), Jason Crowe (FL Ag)

- From Bands to Base Pairs: Implementation of Whole Genome Sequencing in a PulseNet Laboratory, Sara Wagner (WI)
- Overcoming Practical Challenges of WGS Implementation at WAPHL, Ailyn Perez-Osorio (WA)

Session II 
Bioinformatics / IT Infrastructure
Moderators:  Kelley Hise (CDC), Lauren Turner (VA), Karen Jinneman (FDA)

- What to Expect When You’re Expecting an NGS Machine: Requirements for Managing NGS Data and Preparing for BioNumerics 7.5, Heather Carleton (CDC) and Brenda Brown (CDC)
- New York State’s Experience with Analyzing, Interpreting, and Sharing Whole Genome Sequence Data for Surveillance of Enteric Organisms, William Wolfgang (NY)
- Setting the Course: Virginia's Experience Navigating Information Technology and Bioinformatics Needs for Whole Genome Sequencing, Lauren Turner (VA)

OutbreakNet and Environmental Health Track

Session I 
Notes from the Field Part I
Moderators:  Carlota Medus (MN), David Nicholas (NYS), Jonathan Yoder (CDC)

- Repeated Salmonella Outbreaks from a Single Restaurant over 15 Years: Lessons Learned from a Long-term Outbreak Response, Matt Zahn (Orange Co., CA)
- Norovirus Outbreak Linked to Consumption of Raw Oysters Contaminated by a Failing Residential Septic System, Laurie Stewart (WA)
- E. coli O111 Outbreak Associated with Green Cabbage Served at Restaurants in Minnesota and Wisconsin, July, 2014, Stephanie Meyer (MN)
- An Outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis Infections at a Long Term Care Facility Fueled by Person-to-Person Transmission and Presenteeism, Bradley Tompkins (VT)
- Use of Whole Genome Sequencing to Help Identify Ongoing Environmental Contamination of Listeria at a Food Service Establishment, Michael Gosciminski (RI), Jonathan Barkley (RI)
- Outdoor Bidets: A Water Quality Survey of Splash Pads -- Tennessee, 2014, Judy Manners (TN), Susan Miller (TN)
- Evaluation of the Timeliness of Enteric Disease Surveillance: Is Achieving the Benchmark Good Enough? Eleni Galanis (BC CDC)
- Outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes Infections Linked to Liquid Ice Cream Mix Served in a Hospital Shake Machine – King County, Washington State, 2014, Beth Melius (WA)

Session II 
OutbreakNet and Environmental Health Award Ceremony
Moderators:  Ian Williams (CDC), Ginny Coyle (NEHA)

Session III 
Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) Update
Moderators:   Don Sharp (CDC)

- CIFOR History and Strategic Plan, Don Sharp (CDC)
- Epidemiology Updates, Kirk Smith (MN)
- Environmental Health Updates, Ernie Julian (RI)
- Laboratory Updates, Dave Boxrud (MN)


Friday, November 20, 2015

Individual Conference Tracks

PulseNet Track

Session I 
PulseStar Awards

Session II 
Innovation Award and Presentation by the Awardee
(Bala Swaminathan)

Session III 
Whole Genome Sequencing Standardization
Moderators:  Stephanie Defibaugh-Chavez (FSIS), Alex Surin (CDC), Peter Evans (FDA), Bill Wolfgang (NY)

- Development and Characterization of Microbial Genomic DNA Reference Materials, Scott Jackson (NIST)
- Standardization of Next Generation Sequencing in Support of Real Time Analysis for Foodborne Pathogen Outbreak Analysis, Bill Klimke (NCBI)
- International Standards Development for Use of Whole Genome Sequencing in Food Microbiology, Peter Evans (FDA)

Session IV 
Culture-Independent Diagnostic Testing
Moderators:  TBD (CDC), Hugh Maguire (CO), Dawn Updike (OK)

- The Impact of CIDTs on Public Health Laboratories, Dave Boxrud  (MN)
- The Isolate Recovery Project: An Efficient CIDT-Positive Workflow, Samantha Olson & Christine VanTubbergen (CDC)
- APHL/CDC Salmonella Seeded Stool Study, Nicole Green (Los Angeles County)
- Culture-Independent Public Health Subtyping Methods for Enteric Bacteria, Heather Carleton (CDC)

Environmental Health Track

Session I 
CDC’s National Environmental Assessment Reporting System (NEARS)
Moderators:  Larry Ramdin (MA), David Nicholas (NY)

- CDC’s National Voluntary Environmental Assessment Reporting System (NEARS): A New Resource  To Assist The Environmental Health Practitioner in Investigating Foodborne Illness Outbreaks, Erik Coleman (CDC)

Session II 
Cottage Food
Moderators:  Ric Encarnacion (CA), Larry Ramdin (MA)

- Homemade Botulism, Herminio Francisco (FDA)
- Local Perspective on Cottage Foods, Dave Ludwig (Pima County, AZ)
- Arizona Cottage Food: The Challenges of an Evolving Program, Blanca Caballero (AZ)

Session III 
Intentional Contamination
Moderators:  Travis Goodman (FDA), Michéle Samarya-Timm (NJ), Latasha Allen (FSIS)

- The FSIS FERN Approach to Intentional Contamination, Thomas Beacorn (FSIS)
- Georgia RRT Regional Food Contamination Exercise, Venessa Sims and Brandon Sauceda (GA)
- Multi-agency Coordination in Contamination Incidents, David Leinenveber (Phoenix Fire Department)

Session IV 
EHS-Net Restaurants Food Safety Studies
Moderator:  Chelsea Austin (CDC)

- Introduction to EHS-Net, Vince Radke  (CDC)
- Findings from a Recent EHS-Net Study: Retail Deli Food Safety Practices, Taylor Radke (CDC)

OutbreakNet Track

Session I 
Notes from the Field Part II
Moderators:  Thai-An Nguyen (CDC), Madhu Anand (NYS), Stephanie Meyer (MN)

- Use of Whole Genome Sequencing in a Salmonella Enteritidis Outbreak Associated with Chicken Kiev, Carlota Medus (MN)
- Shiga toxin-producing Shigella sonnei in Southern California, 2014, Jennifer Nelson (San Diego)
- Food Source Prediction of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC) Outbreaks Using Demographic and Outbreak Characteristics - United States 1998-2013, Alice White (CO)
- Cluster of Cryptosporidiosis Cases due to Unpasteurized Milk Consumption – Maine, 2014, Amy Robbins (ME)
- Evaluation of Arizona’s Centralized Enteric Disease Interviewer Team, Marilee Kellis (AZ)
- A Binational Outbreak Investigation of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, August 2014, Mariana Casal (AZ), Nubia Hernandez (AZ)
- Not another Chick Outbreak:  Using Epidemiologic, Laboratory and Environmental Health Methods to Investigate Two Salmonella Outbreaks with Indistinguishable PFGE Patterns, Occurring Simultaneously in Colorado, Nisha Alden (CO)
- New Year’s Norovirus Outbreak Associated with Raw Oyster Consumption - 2014, Erin Delaune (LA) 

Session II 
Communications: Outreach Pertaining to Raw Meats and Undercooked Chicken Livers
Moderators:  Bonnie Kissler (FSIS), Gabrielle Johnston (FSIS)

- Livers Let Fry: Recent Outbreaks of Campylobacteriosis Associated with Undercooked Chicken Livers, Bradley Tompkins (VT)
- Salmonella Typhimurium Restaurant Cluster Associated with Raw Beef Kibbeh – Michigan 2012, Katherine Arends (MI)
- Challenges of Changing Family Traditions – Wisconsin’s Experience with Raw Ground Beef, “Tiger Meat”, Outbreaks, Rachel Klos (WI)
- Incorporating Cultural Sensitivity in Communicating Raw Product Risk, Gabrielle Johnston (FSIS)

Interagency Foodborne Outbreak Response Collaboration (IFORC) Industry Consultation Process 
Moderators:  Bonnie Kissler (FSIS), Susan Lance (FDA)

- Interagency Foodborne Outbreak Response Collaboration (IFORC) Industry Consultation Process, Ian Williams (CDC)
- Industry Consultation: Opportunities for Prevention, Gary Weber (FDA)

Funding for this conference was made possible (in part) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily do not reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the US Government.

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