Guidance

Foodborne and non-foodborne gastrointestinal outbreaks surveillance

Outbreaks reported to PHE's electronic foodborne and non-foodborne gastrointestinal outbreak surveillance system (eFOSS).

Foodborne outbreaks

The investigation and reporting of foodborne outbreaks within the European Union (EU) is statutory with Directive 2003/99/EC.

Information from the surveillance of foodborne disease outbreaks are provided on an annual basis to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for inclusion in the EU community summary reports on:

  • trends and sources of zoonoses
  • zoonotic agents
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • foodborne outbreaks

The UK reports data for general outbreaks of foodborne infections.

Reported data on foodborne disease outbreaks are valuable in establishing a link between foodborne illness and specific foods or situations that caused it.

Non-foodborne outbreaks

Non-foodborne gastrointestinal outbreaks including illnesses associated with the following are also reported:

  • recreational water exposure
  • environmental exposure at outdoor events eg contact with mud
  • contact with animals or their faeces
  • outbreaks of Vero cytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) mediated through person-to-person transmission

Electronic foodborne and non-foodborne gastrointestinal outbreak surveillance system (eFOSS)

Outbreak information from (eFOSS) is also provided to the following government departments and European agencies to support public health policies and foodborne disease reduction strategies:

  • Food Standards Agency
  • Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Department of Health
  • European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
  • European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

Surveillance reports

Gastrointestinal infections data: summary of eFOSS data (2013) (PDF, 438KB, 12 pages)

For Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157 annual infections total in England and Wales, see the Vero cytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC): guidance, data and analysis collection.