Our Office of Infectious Disease Services has released the  2017 and 2018 Infectious Disease Outbreak Report. This comprehensive report uses data collected during investigations of outbreaks reported to and investigated by public health.

An outbreak is defined as an increase in cases of disease in time or place that is greater than expected. The public health response to outbreaks is a team effort, utilizing knowledge, skills, and input from epidemiologists, laboratorians, public health nurses, communicable disease investigators, sanitarians, and more. Outbreak detection, response, and reporting are key activities for public health response to infectious disease.

This report includes summaries of outbreaks in health care institutions, child care facilities and schools, and correctional facilities.

Highlights from this report:

  • There was a decrease in the number of reported and confirmed outbreaks that occurred during 2018. This decrease was most evident within schools and child care facilities.

  • Substantial changes to communicable disease rules went into effect on January 1, 2018. Despite the additional requirement to report respiratory disease outbreaks in health care institutions or correctional facilities, reports for these types of outbreaks decreased in 2018.

  • For the first time, this report distinguishes between outbreaks in assisted living facilities vs. nursing care institutions. The burden of outbreaks is far greater in nursing care institutions than assisted living facilities.

  • Performance goals show that Arizona’s outbreak response is strong in important areas, including initiating an investigation within 24 hours and confirming the etiology of outbreaks.

The report also includes summaries of notable outbreaks from 2017 and 2018, including:

  • E. coli O157 in a Community on the Arizona-Utah border

  • E. coli O157 Linked to Romaine Lettuce

  • E. coli O157 Linked to Soynut Butter

  • Hepatitis A in Persons Experiencing Homelessness (2017)

  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus in a Nursing Care Institution

  • Salmonella Montevideo Associated with a Chicken Restaurant

  • Other Notable Multistate Foodborne Outbreaks

Read more about infectious disease outbreak investigation and management by visiting our website. Find out more about reporting outbreaks by contacting your local health department.