There is a statutory requirement to report certain infectious human diseases to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). Some of these diseases can be transmitted by food.
The HPSC is responsible for collecting, analysing and reporting notifications of infectious disease. These reports are available on the HPSC’s website.
An outbreak is usually defined as two or more linked cases of the same illness. Outbreaks may be confined to one family, or they may be spread locally, nationally or internationally. If an outbreak is suspected, a multidisciplinary outbreak control team is formed to investigate the cause and prevent new cases. The FSAI takes part in the investigation if the outbreak is suspected to involve food.
Investigations play an important role in identifying reasons why an outbreak occurred, factors that led to its spread and lessons that can be learnt to prevent reoccurrences. The HPSC monitors all outbreaks of infectious disease including those which are foodborne.