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Publication type: Journal Article
Document type: Full Paper

Year: 2016

Author(s): Weiser, AA; Thöns, C; Filter, M; Falenski, A; Appel, B; Käsbohrer, A

Title: FoodChain-Lab: A Trace-Back and Trace-Forward Tool Developed and Applied during Food-Borne Disease Outbreak Investigations in Germany and Europe.

Source: PLoS One. 2016; 11(3):e0151977

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Käsbohrer Annemarie

FoodChain-Lab is modular open-source software for trace-back and trace-forward analysis in food-borne disease outbreak investigations. Development of FoodChain-Lab has been driven by a need for appropriate software in several food-related outbreaks in Germany since 2011. The software allows integrated data management, data linkage, enrichment and visualization as well as interactive supply chain analyses. Identification of possible outbreak sources or vehicles is facilitated by calculation of tracing scores for food-handling stations (companies or persons) and food products under investigation. The software also supports consideration of station-specific cross-contamination, analysis of geographical relationships, and topological clustering of the tracing network structure. FoodChain-Lab has been applied successfully in previous outbreak investigations, for example during the 2011 EHEC outbreak and the 2013/14 European hepatitis A outbreak. The software is most useful in complex, multi-area outbreak investigations where epidemiological evidence may be insufficient to discriminate between multiple implicated food products. The automated analysis and visualization components would be of greater value if trading information on food ingredients and compound products was more easily available.

Keywords Pubmed: Disease Outbreaks
Food Contamination*
Food Microbiology*
Foodborne Diseases/epidemiology*

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