Gastroenteritis at a University in Texas

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Jeanette Stehr-Green
Date published
Apr, 2002
Last updated
22 Jan 2020


Case study based on an investigation of an outbreak of norovirus gastroenteritis among students at the University of Texas in 1998 which was eventually traced to a foodhandler who worked in one of the campus cafeterias.

Learning Objectives:

  • List categories and examples of questions that should be asked of key informants who have reported a suspected outbreak of foodborne disease;
  • List four criteria for establishing investigation priorities when food poisoning is suspected;
  • List three common pitfalls in the collection of clinical specimens for the investigation of suspected foodborne diseases;
  • Determine the most efficient epidemiologic study design to test a hypothesis (including the case definition and the appropriate comparison group;
  • Describe the advantages and disadvantages of different ways of administering questionnaires (e.g.: self-administered, by telephone, in person);
  • List key areas of focus in interviewing foodhandlers and observing kitchen practices in a foodborne disease outbreak.