Foodborne Illness

Epidemiology and Informatics
Public Health

What would you like to do?

What you need to know

Nebraska DHHS helps prevent foodborne illnesses through public health surveillance. The DHHS Foodborne Illness Program works with partners to investigate, control, and report foodborne disease cases and outbreaks.

Who is at risk of a foodborne illness?

Everyone is at risk of getting a foodborne illness. However, some people are at a greater risk of becoming seriously ill or even dying from a foodborne illness:

  • Infants
  • Young children
  • Pregnant women and their unborn babies
  • Older adults
  • Members of an "at-risk" group. At-risk groups include people with these conditions:
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Cancer
    • Diabetes
    • Kidney disease
    • Transplant patients

In case of suspected foodborne illness:

  1. Preserve the remaining portions of suspected foods if available: Wrap the food securely, mark “Do not use" and freeze it. The health department will notify you if testing for a food product is needed.
  2. Seek treatment as necessary: Seek medical care immediately if the ill person is in an “at risk" group. If symptoms persist or are severe (such as bloody diarrhea, excessive nausea and vomiting, or high temperature), see a doctor right away.
  3. Report: Call your Local Public Health Department or Nebraska DHHS Office of Epidemiology to report the illness at (402) 471-2937.

What can consumers do to protect themselves from foodborne illness?

A few simple steps can reduce the risk of foodborne diseases:


Cook meat, poultry and eggs thoroughly. Use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature of meat. A meat thermometer is a good way to be sure that you cooked meat enough to kill bacteria.


  • Avoid cross-contaminating foods.
  • Wash hands, utensils, and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry.
  • Wash them before they touch another food, too.
  • Put cooked meat on a clean platter instead of the one that held the raw meat.


  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature, so refrigerate leftover foods if no one will eat them within 4 hours.
  • For large volumes of food, split them into several shallow containers. When you refrigerate them, they will cool more quickly.

Other foodborne illness resources

 Office of Epidemiology
Division of Public Health/ Department of Health & Human Services
Phone Number
(402) 471-2937
Fax Number
(402) 471-3601
Mailing Address
DHHS, Office of Epidemiology
P.O. Box 95026, Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-5026