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Infectious Disease Guidelines & Resources

Group Settings
Outbreak Investigation Guidelines

Please report ALL outbreaks of enteric illness to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and/or the appropriate local public health agency within 24 hours after the outbreak is detected. Local public health agencies should call the department at 303-692-2700 to report outbreaks and obtain an outbreak ID number, especially before submitting specimens to the state public health laboratory for testing.


Here are some examples of outbreaks that should be reported to the department:

  • Suspected C. perfringens after a wedding meal

  • E. coli O157 associated with visiting a petting zoo

  • Shigella at a childcare center

  • Cryptosporidium at swimming pool

  • Suspected Norovirus outbreak at a long term care facility or summer camp


Resources to use during the investigation


Outbreak Reporting Forms

When the outbreak is over, it is very important to complete an outbreak report form with appropriate summary data so the outbreak can be officially reported to CDC. When the outbreak is over, please fax the appropriate form to the department at 303-782-0338. The department will report the data to CDC. Depending on the route of transmission, use one of the following 3 forms:


1. Most outbreaks of enteric illness should be reported using the  Enteric Illness Report Form (NORS Form) pdf file  This includes outbreaks with following routes of transmission:

  • Foodborne

  • Animal contact

  • Environmental contamination

  • Person to person transmission*(e.g. norovirus at a summer camp, or Salmonella in child care center)


CDC guidance for using the NORS form:


2. Outbreaks that meet the all three of the following criteria can be reported using the shorter    CDPHE Gastroenteritis (Norovirus) Outbreak Report Form for Long Term Care or Healthcare pdf file      

  • Known or suspected viral gastroenteritis, and

  • That occur at a long term care facility or other residential setting, such as a group home, and

  • Where the primary route of transmission is person to person.


3. Any waterborne outbreak should be reported using a special NORS-water form, available on the CDC website. This would include outbreaks related to drinking water or to recreational water, such as a lake or swimming pool.


Specimen Collection Guidelines