Timeline for Reporting Cases of Salmonella Infection
To find cases in an outbreak of Salmonella infections, public health laboratories serotype theSalmonella bacteria and perform a kind of “DNA fingerprinting” on Salmonella laboratory samples. Investigators determine whether the “DNA fingerprint” pattern of Salmonella bacteria from one person is the same as that from other people in the outbreak and from the contaminated food, water, or infected animal. Bacteria with the same “DNA fingerprint” are likely to come from the same source. Public health officials conduct intensive investigations, including interviews with ill people, to determine if people whose infecting bacteria match by “DNA fingerprinting” are part of a common-source outbreak.
A series of events occurs between the time a person is infected and the time public health officials can determine that the person is part of an outbreak. This means that there will be a delay between when a person gets sick and confirmation that he or she is part of an outbreak. Public health officials work hard to speed up the process as much as possible. The timeline is as follows: