Press Release
Source: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Tuesday April 11, 8:01 am ET
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–April 11, 2006–The prevention and control of foodborne infections in the U.S. has improved significantly since the initiation of PulseNet, a nationwide program that enables the rapid analysis and comparison of DNA “fingerprints” of foodborne pathogens, as described in a series of reports in the Spring 2006 Special Issue (Volume 3, Number 1) of Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The issue is available free online at
PulseNet is a national network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories, coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The network performs standardized molecular subtyping (or DNA fingerprinting) of foodborne disease-causing bacteria using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). PFGE is a sensitive means of separating DNA and detecting patterns, or fingerprints that can be stored in a database and rapidly searched to distinguish between strains of disease-causing organisms, such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Shigella, Listeria, and Campylobacter.
PulseNet is transforming public health and surveillance efforts to detect and investigate outbreaks of foodborne infection, identify the causative agent, and institute control and containment measures at an earlier stage. This interactive network and national database allows public health officials to track and compare outbreaks in multiple states or regions and to determine whether they represent a single large, but dispersed, outbreak and to trace the source of the pathogen.

“PulseNet USA is the molecular surveillance network for foodborne infections in the United States. Routine communication between the various international PulseNet networks will provide early warning on foodborne disease outbreaks to participating public health institutions and countries,” says Stephen P. Oliver, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief of Foodborne Pathogens and Diseases, and Professor of Animal Science and Co-Director of the Food Safety Center of Excellence at The University of Tennessee, in Knoxville.
This special issue features a five-year update of PulseNet USA, as well as a review of the ongoing effort to establish PulseNet International, a global, interconnected system of laboratory networks. Additional articles focus on the technology of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern analysis and it standardization and use in subtyping pathogens such as Vibrio cholerae, E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Shigella.
A series of reports examines various aspects of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections, including the characterization and epidemiologic subtyping ot Shiga toxin, the use of standardized PFGE in the PulseNet Europe Feasibility Study, and the process of second generation subtyping based on a proposed PulseNet protocol for multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis.
“Surveillance enhanced by molecular subtyping means that outbreaks are likely to be detected and investigated sooner, whether they are naturally occurring or intentionally caused,” writes Robert V. Tauxe, MD, MPH, Chief, Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases Branch, Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC (Atlanta, GA), in his Introduction to the Special Issue. “Subtype-based surveillance, and the attendant general improvement in public health practice is critical to the preparedness of public health to meet the challenge of bioterror.”
Foodborne Pathogens and Disease is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published quarterly in print and online that publishes original papers and short communications on research aimed at identifying, preventing, and controlling diseases caused by foodborne pathogens. Featured topics include emerging pathogens, emergence of drug resistance, methods and technology for rapid and accurate detection, strategies to destroy or control foodborne pathogens in food production and processing, and novel strategies to promote food safety. Tables of contents and a free sample issue may be viewed online at
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases and Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry’s most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm’s 60 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available at
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Cathia Falvey, 914-740-2100, ext. 2165