Epidemiology and Informatics
Public Health

What would you like to do?

What would you like to do?

What you need to know

What you need to know

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) monitors foodborne illness cases and outbreaks across the state of Nebraska through the use of a public health surveillance system.

DHHS collaborates with many partners such as hospitals, clinics, laboratories, local, state, and federal partners to detect, investigate, control, and report foodborne disease cases and outbreaks.

CDC Food Safety Recalls


Frequently Asked Questions

If I am experiencing illness, should I still go to work?

No. If you are experiencing diarrhea, vomiting, or have a fever, you should not work. You should be symptom free for at least 24 hours before returning to work. Working while sick increases the risk of spreading illness to others.

If you are a food handler and experiencing illness or have a diagnosis from your doctor, you must report to your manager and follow proper exclusions as stated in the Nebraska Food Code.

Is the 'stomach flu' and the 'flu' the same thing?

The 'stomach flu' or 'stomach bug' is usually caused by Norovirus. The 'flu' is caused by Influenza.

I think I have foodborne illness, was it the last food item I ate?

A common misunderstanding is that gastrointestinal illness was caused by the last food item that was eaten before symptoms started. While there are a few pathogens in which gastrointestinal illness may cause illness within a few hours of being exposed, many foodborne illnesses have incubation periods that range from several hours to several days or weeks.

What is a foodborne illness outbreak?

A foodborne illness outbreak is defined as two or more illnesses caused by the same germ (bacteria, parasite, virus, or toxin) and share a common exposure.

What settings can foodborne illness outbreaks occur?

Foodborne illness outbreaks can occur in a variety of settings including, but not limited to: a restaurant meal, church potluck, wedding, catered meal, concert/festival and/or a store bought food product (i.e. prepackaged romaine lettuce).

Who investigates foodborne illness outbreaks?

Foodborne illness outbreaks require a team effort between the public, local health departments, DHHS, physicians, hospitals, laboratories, and regulatory agencies.

How is a foodborne illness outbreak investigated?

There are many steps involved in a foodborne outbreak investigation.

  1. Detect a possible outbreak through public health surveillance.
  2. Find cases.
  3. ​Generate a hypotheses through interviews.
  4. Test hypotheses through studies and laboratory testing.
  5. Solve point of contamination and original source of outbreak vehicle.
  6. Control outbreak through recalls, facility improvements, and industry collaboration.
  7. Decide an outbreak is over.

Foodborne Illness Program
Epidemiology Unit
Phone Number
(402) 471-2937
Fax Number
(402) 471-3601
Mailing Address
DHHS, Office of Epidemiology
P.O. Box 95026, Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-5026