Welcome to outbreakdatabase.com, a searchable database of illness outbreaks caused by one or more of the following:

  • consumption of contaminated foods or beverages,
  • exposure to animals,
  • exposure to contaminated recreational water,
  • person-to-person contact with someone whose illness initiated from animal exposure or consumption of contaminated foods and beverages.

The database describes outbreaks occurring since 1984.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines an outbreak as “two or more ill persons linked to a common source” and this serves as the basis of outbreakdatabase.com. To be included in outbreakdatabase.com, the outbreak must have supporting documentation from public health agencies, journal articles, media reports, etc. Names of stores, brands, restaurants, or other sources are listed if they have been publicly identified previously.

The database is a work in progress. It will continually be updated and revised. Significant effort has been made to ensure the data are accurate. We welcome contributions, corrections, comments, etc. Please use the contact form for comments.

Guidelines for using outbreakdatabase.com

A basic search of the database can be performed using a combination of any of the following fields: ORGANISM, VEHICLE (refers to the food or beverage), MONTH, YEAR, STATE, or COUNTRY. A successful search will result in a listing of relevant outbreaks and a brief summary of each outbreak. To view more detail about an outbreak, click on the title of the outbreak and you will be automatically re-directed to a screen showing a detailed description of the outbreak. Web links to recall information and references are provided when applicable.

Search terms for ORGANISM, MONTH, YEAR, STATE and COUNTRY are provided as drop down menus.

Search terms for VEHICLE must be entered manually.

Search terms for KEYWORDS must be entered manually. A KEYWORD search results in a list of outbreaks where the search term appears in the outbreak summary.

Tips for conducting a successful SEARCH in outbreakdatabase.com

Several fields (Organism, Country, Year, Month, and State) provide a list of searchable terms using a drop down menu. Only one search term per field can be selected at a time from each drop down menu.

Multiple search terms can be entered in the KEYWORD field. To search for multiple terms, enter each word separated by a space. For example, a KEYWORD search of SPINACH LETTUCE will result in a list of outbreaks that contain the word SPINACH or the word LETTUCE in the outbreak summary. To search for a multiple word term in KEYWORD enclose the phrase in single quotes (‘). For example, a search of ‘ILL FOOD HANDLER’ will result in a list of outbreaks where the entire phrase ILL FOOD HANDLER appears in the summary.

If an ORGANISM is not listed, select “Other” from the drop down menu and enter the name of the organism in KEYWORD.

ORGANISM serotype or subtype should be entered as a KEYWORD.

If illness occurred in patients who did not live in the United States, the outbreak is classified as an “International” outbreak even if an outbreak associated case lived in the United States.