CDC Working With Partners to Adapt to Rapid Diagnostic Tests
Rapid diagnostic tests offer faster results than traditional culture-based methods, but they don’t provide the bacterial cultures that public health officials need to track illness caused by foodborne germs. To learn how CDC is adapting to these new tests, the nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts talked with Dr. Rima Khabbaz, director of CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. Khabbaz said CDC and partners have put in place several strategies to transform CDC’s culture-based surveillance for foodborne diseases to account for increasing use of culture-independent diagnostic tests, including revising reporting criteria to include these tests and evaluating new approaches to obtain bacterial cultures when rapid tests diagnose a foodborne illness. She also described CDC efforts to create advanced tests to track disease-causing bacteria directly in stool, sputum, or blood – eliminating the need for bacterial cultures in the future. CDC and key stakeholders continue to prepare for new technologies of the future.