An official website of the United States government.

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Environmental Health Specialist Network


The long-term objective of the proposed work is to reduce foodborne and waterborne illness in Minnesota and the entire U.S. Specific aims are to: 1) increase and improve environmental assessments conducted during foodborne and waterborne outbreak investigations, identify risk factors associated with outbreaks, and implement appropriate disease prevention efforts; 2) identify and understand environmental factors associated with sporadic foodborne and waterborne illnesses through special studies; 3) evaluate food safety and water safety programs in Minnesota; and 4) develop and disseminate the findings from EHS-Net research projects to the environmental health community, food service industry, and providers/users of drinking and recreational water. MDH has been a leader and active participant in both the food and water safety components of EHS-Net since the inception of both programs and will continue EHS-Net involvement in the same fashion. Environmental health specialists from the MDH Division of Environmental Health and epidemiologists from the MDH Acute Disease Investigation and Control Section will comprise the MDH EHS-Net team and will work closely together to conduct EHS-Net activities. Active population-based surveillance for reportable bacterial and protozoal pathogens will be conducted, along with state-of the art outbreak detection and investigation. Environmental assessments will be conducted on all foodborne outbreaks in commercial food establishments and all waterborne (i.e., drinking and recreational water) outbreaks in Minnesota using the standard tools designated by EHS-Net. Special studies to identify practices, behaviors, or other risk factors that lead to sporadic foodborne illness will be conducted at random samples of restaurants in previously selected sampling frameworks. Special studies to identify the burden of Cryptosporidium, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, and Campylobacter infections due to drinking water, along with practices, behaviors, or other risk factors that lead to sporadic waterborne infections, will revolve around interviews of all reported cases (including specific questions about well water and other exposures), and application of GIS using data sources such as cattle density, geologic sensitivity to groundwater contamination, and climate variables (e.g., flooding). MDH will continue to build communication and collaborations with EHS-Net partners (other states, CDC, FDA, and EPA) and will actively participate in multi-site studies decided on by the EHS-Net Steering Committee. Education of environmental health specialists and industry groups throughout Minnesota, based on lesson learned from EHS-Net, will be actively pursued. . . PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Foodborne and waterborne illness continue to be important public health problems in Minnesota. Foodborne and waterborne outbreaks occur commonly, and case-control studies have implicated eating at restaurants as a source of nonoutbreak-associated infection with several disease agents (e.g., Salmonella, Campylobacter, and E. coli O157:H7); these studies were a primary reason for formation of EHS-Net. In addition, studies conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and FoodNet have implicated well water consumption as a risk factor for cryptosporidiosis and possibly other disease agents as well.

Minnesota Department of Health
Start date
End date
Project number