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Indiana University Student Epidemiology Response Team (IU-SERT)

What is IU-SERT?

The Indiana University Student Epidemiology Response Team (IU-SERT) is a group of graduate student interns that provide case investigation assistance to local health departments (LHDs) in Indiana who sign up for the program. IU-SERT interns are Master of Public Health (MPH) students, and the majority of students come from the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health (FSPH).

IU-SERT interns are trained and supervised by the ISDH enteric epidemiologists with support from the Fellow, a senior intern that is responsible for training, data management, and evaluation of the program.

IU-SERT History

The ISDH and the FSPH collaborated in 2015 to develop a team of public health graduate students to investigate cases and outbreaks of salmonellosis. IU-SERT was originally designed to improve Indiana’s ability to investigate clusters/outbreaks of salmonellosis by obtaining more timely and complete case investigation data.

What conditions does IU-SERT investigate?

  • Salmonellosis
  • Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC)
  • Listeriosis
  • Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS)
  • Typhoid and Paratyphoid Fever

What does IU-SERT do?

IU-SERT interns work both during the day and in the evening to interview cases of several reportable enteric conditions.

IU-SERT interviews patients over the phone to obtain information regarding a patient’s exposure using a detailed questionnaire. IU-SERT interns are trained and supervised by the ISDH enteric epidemiologists with support from the IU-SERT Fellow. The Fellow serves as a senior intern that is responsible for training, data management, and evaluation of the IU-SERT program. They enter this information into Indiana’s surveillance system (NBS).

IU-SERT Activities

Active Surveillance

  • Investigate cases of 5 reportable enteric conditions in Indiana using the following workflow:

IU-SERT Workflow

Cluster and Outbreak Investigations

  • IU-SERT is responsible for tracking the status of Salmonellosis, STEC, and Listeriosis (SSL) outbreak investigations of all cases in Indiana using the following workflow:

IU-SERT Cluster Workflow

Surge Capacity

  • IU-SERT can provide surge capacity for other conditions as needed. IU-SERT has assisted with hepatitis A case investigations and Cyclosporiasis outbreaks in the past.

What is IU-SERT up to?

    • Note: This is not an updated hepatitis A outbreak curve. For the most recent total state curve, visit https://www.in.gov/isdh/27791.htm and view the Comprehensive Epidemiological Outbreak Summary under the Hepatitis A Outbreak Resources Section.
  • Integrated Foodborne Outbreak Response and Management Conference (InFORM) 2020 Presentations
    • Employing a student intern team to enhance outbreak surveillance in Indiana
    • Utilizing a graduate student investigation team to assist local health departments with routine and outbreak case investigations
    • The Indiana Norovirus Tracker—Reporting Outbreak Trends in Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities using a Data Management Tool, Indiana 2019

Questions?

If you have questions related to IU-SERT or would like more information, please contact Nicole Stone, IU-SERT supervisor.

Nicole Stone, MPH

Foodborne and Waterborne Disease Epidemiologist

317.233.7125

IU-SERT was created through a partnership between ISDH and FSPH.