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Understanding foodborne illness

HONOLULU — Surveys from the state Department of Health Disease Outbreak Control Division started landing in mailboxes on Wednesday as part of a campaign to better understand rat lungworm disease and other foodborne illnesses.

The surveys are being mailed to randomly selected households throughout the state, and include an option to submit responses online.

The survey includes questions about food items residents typically consume, where food is purchased or grown, sources of water for drinking and cooking, how food is prepared, and exposure to rats, slugs and snails in the area surrounding a survey respondent’s home.

Data gathered will be used to educate the public on best practices for food safety, guide public health intervention and prevention efforts, and enhance understanding of the foodborne disease risks among Hawaii residents and visitors.

“Our behaviors, activities, eating habits and living environments often change depending on what season we’re in, so it’s important for us to collect a second round of data to fill in more of the picture of potential disease risk factors across the state,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.

“We encourage those who receive the survey in the mail to promptly complete and return it.”

This survey will not use the phone or email to contact residents.

Households that received surveys in November 2018 during the first round are not included in the distribution of the second survey, according to a DOH press release.
Source: The Garden Island

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