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A health network to enhance the surveillance of foodborne diseases in Australia


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OzFoodNet undertake surveillance and investigations of foodborne disease in Australia in conjunction with jurisdictions. In 2012-13, OzFoodNet conducted an outbreak investigation of listeriosis with 34 cases, from six jurisdictions identified linked to products from a Victorian manufacturer of soft cheese. OzFoodNet liaised with state and territory authorities, the Communicable Diseases Network of Australia, and Food Standards Australia and New Zealand to identify the link between the consumption of soft cheese and these cases. Data from OzFoodNet's National Enhanced Listeriosis Surveillance System was used to identify and monitor this outbreak.

OzFoodNet also continues to gather evidence on outbreaks of gastroenteritis associated with the consumption of raw or minimally cooked eggs. Foods commonly served with an uncooked raw egg ingredient such as chocolate mousse, tiramisu and sauces (aioli and mayonnaise) have been linked to outbreaks of salmonellosis. Data from the OzFoodNet Outbreak Register show that in 2011, around 20% of the outbreaks investigated by OzFoodNet were linked to the use of raw or minimally cooked egg.

OzFoodNet is part of a World Health Organization capacity building network – Global Foodborne Infections Network (GFN) that was formerly known as Global SalmSurv. GFN supports laboratory-based surveillance of foodborne diseases, by teaching epidemiologists and laboratory scientists to conduct surveillance for foodborne infections and investigate outbreaks.

Information on outbreaks resulting from contaminated food can be accessed through the OzFoodNet Outbreak Register. Currently, the Register has data on the major causes of foodborne disease outbreaks for 2001 up to the 1st quarter of 2013. Data can be extracted by implicated food, setting where the food was prepared, and causative agent.

Recent publications

Green M, Fitzsimmons G. The OzFoodNet story: 2000 to present day. Microbiology Australia 2013; 34(2):59-62

Draper A. A case of gastroenteritis possibly caused by Chromobacterium violaceum in the Northern Territory of Australia. The Northern Territory Disease Control Bulletin. 2013;20(2):16-18.

Draper A. Enteric disease in the Northern Territory in 2012. The Northern Territory Disease Control Bulletin. 2013;20(2):18-23.

Draper A, Yip TW. An outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E.coli (STEC) gastroenteritis associated with eating kangaroo - a case study from the Northern Territory. The Northern Territory Disease Control Bulletin 2013;20(1):14-15.

Harlock M. A look at enteric disease in the NT during 2011 from the OzFoodNet Perspective. The Northern Territory Disease Control Bulletin 2012;19(3):14-18

Harlock M. A foodborne disease outbreak associated with a ‘high tea’ platter, caused by norovirus. The Northern Territory Disease Control Bulletin 2012;19(3):9-14

Harlock M. A review of enteric disease in 2010 from the OzFoodNet perspective. NT Disease Control Bulletin 2011; 18 (3): 42-45

Harlock M. Hafinia alvei – a possible cause of gastroenteritis? The Northern Territory Disease Control Bulletin 2010;17(4):30-32

Harlock M. A review of enteric disease in 2009 from the OzFoodNet perspective. The Northern Territory Disease Control Bulletin 2010;17(3):11-13

Dalton CB, Merritt TD, Unicomb LE, Kirk MD, Stafford RJ, Lalor K; the OzFoodNet Working Group. A national case-control study of risk factors for listeriosis in Australia. Epidemiology and Infection 2010; 1-9.

Hall G, McDonald L, Majowicz SE, Scallan E, Kirk M, Sockett P and Angulo FJ. Respiratory symptoms and the case definition of gastroenteritis: an international analysis of the potential impact on burden estimates. Epidemiology and Infection 2010; 138(1): 117-124.

Kirk MD, Veitch MG and Hall GV. Gastroenteritis and food-borne disease in elderly people living in long-term care. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2010; 50(3): 397-404.

Majowicz SE, Musto J, Scallan E, Angulo FJ, Kirk M, O'Brien SJ, Jones TF, Fazil A and Hoekstra RM; The global burden of nontyphoidal Salmonella gastroenteritis. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2010; 50(6): 882-9.

Moffatt CR, Cameron S, Mickan L and Givney RC. Campylobacter jejuni Gastroenteritis at an Australian Boarding School: Consistency between Epidemiology, flaA Typing, and Multilocus Sequence Typing. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 2010; July 9 (Epub ahead of print).

Moffatt CR, Lafferty AR, Khan S, Krsteski R, Valcanis M, Powling J and Veitch M. Salmonella Rubislaw gastroenteritis linked to a pet lizard. The Medical Journal of Australia 2010; 193(1): 54-5.

Health Department sites participating in OzFoodNet

Australian Capital Territory | New South Wales | Northern Territory | Queensland | South Australia | Tasmania | Victoria | Western Australia

To obtain alternative copies of any of the above documents please email OzFoodNet (

Page currency, Latest update: 11 March, 2014