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FPAdvisor (Food Pathogen Advisor)
Disclaimer: This software program is provided as an instructional aid to food regulatory personnel seeking a better understanding of the range of food-borne illnesses. The website owner, the USAF, or the DoD makes no assurance of its accuracy or completeness for any other purpose. It should not be used to diagnose or treat an illness. Ill individuals should seek appropriate care from a licensed health care provider.
FPAdvisor Help Contents
Select an item from the list below to see the contents of that section:
The purpose of FPAdvisor is to allow investigators to consider a wide range of disease possibilities (contained in the FPAdvisor database) in a food-borne disease investigation at computer speed. Presently, there is a tendency to consider only a handful of causative agents that are frequently involved in food-borne disease outbreaks.
By entering known information such as the incubation period, specific symptoms, type of food, etc., the program will generate a limited list of disease possibilities. The investigator can then choose to view or print details of each disease possibility. Some can be readily ruled out while others may warrant laboratory or other investigative follow up.
The database has been in use since 1992 and is believed to be free of error.
FPAdvisor 2.0 is based on the original dBase III program by Thomas E. Crook of the Food Service Sanitation Section, Food and Dairy Division, Michigan State Department of Agriculture and the FPAdvisor 1.0 program written by Mark Myatt and Tracey Greenwood of Brixton Health / Brixton Books and Thomas E. Crook. A suitable reference is:
The database used by FPAdvisor was compiled from:
FPAdvisor allows you to enter known information about disease type, suspect foodstuffs, signs and symptoms, incubation period, and duration of symptoms and will return a list of disease possibilities for which further details may be viewed or printed.
FPAdvisor may be used in a variety of ways. For example, a simple query might list all of the diseases associated with shellfish. A more specific report might generate a list of diseases with an incubation period of less than one hour. The use of more conditions will result in a more narrowed list of disease possibilities.
It is recommended that the database query be conducted using characteristics (i.e. symptoms) common to the majority of those reported ill. The search should begin using only two or three conditions before adding others. This practice will result in more disease choice options for consideration. This wider list can then be narrowed by adding more search criteria.
The duration of disease is the least reliable data on which to base a query because duration information is not available for most food-borne diseases. The use of duration information may lead to possible diseases being inadvertently omitted from further consideration.
The details form displays the following data: etiologic agent and source, incubation or latency period, signs and symptoms, source, reservoir and epidemiology, foods usually involved, specimens to collect, factors contributing to food-borne outbreaks, and control measures. The information is organized for rapid review and allows the comparison of the same kind of data about different diseases.
No attempt has been made to include all poisonous plants, poisonous chemicals, or radioactive materials in the database. Only those plants that are used as food or mistaken for food and those that illustrate a different class of poison are included. There has been no attempt to list all foods that have been incriminated as vehicles in outbreaks. Except in the case of rare diseases, only foods of public health importance are listed.
The symptoms of each disease are usually in the order either of their occurrence or their predominance. Individual cases however, will not manifest all the symptoms and, in some cases, additional signs and symptoms will occur. The incubation period (latency period in the case of poisonings) is the time from ingestion of the contaminated food until the first symptoms appear. Individual cases will have incubation periods that vary from the stated times. Control measures are listed in the order of relative importance.
Blank spaces in the detail text indicate that the appropriate information is insignificant or unknown. The authors encourage comment on missing diseases and information and submission of additional data.
The stand-alone software allows users to enter known information about disease types, suspect foodstuffs, signs and symptoms, incubation periods, and duration of symptoms and will return a list of disease possibilities for which further details may be viewed or printed.
This software may be used in a variety of ways. For example, selection criteria may list all diseases associated with shellfish. Other selection criteria may generate a list of diseases with an incubation period of less than one hour.
Type of Disease
The disease type is selected from a radio button. Only one disease type may be selected. If the user does not want to include a disease type in the selection criteria, the user must ensure that the default option (No query) is selected.
The suspected food is selected from a radio button. Only one suspected food may be selected. If the user does not want to include a suspected food in the selection criteria, the user must ensure that the default option (No query) is selected.
The user may select an unlimited number of symptoms as is appropriate. It is recommended that users start by specifying only the most common symptoms and then add or remove symptoms to further refine the selection criteria.
Symptom criteria are chosen by clicking on the “Available Symptoms,” then selecting the > arrow to move the selected item to the “Selected Symptoms” dialog box. Another symptom can be selected accordingly from the “Available Symptoms” list. One hundred Available Symptoms are provided.
The incubation period is selected from a radio button. Only one incubation period may be selected. If the user does not want to include the incubation period in the selection criteria, the user must ensure that the default option (No query) is selected.
The duration is selected from a radio button. Only a single duration may be selected. If the user does not want to include the duration in the selection criteria, the user must ensure that the default option (No query) is selected. Note: Entering duration criteria may lead to unreliable results because duration information is not available for most of the food-borne illnesses.
When the user has entered the criteria, the user can click the Query button. A list of diseases that meet the selection criteria will be displayed in a new window; FPAdvisor: Matching Records dialog box.
If no diseases meet the selection criteria, you may need to modify the selection criteria by removing less common symptoms from the criteria or by specifying a “No query” condition for some of the criteria selections.
To view the details for a particular disease, click on the disease name in the Matching Records dialog box and the page will be displayed. The user can then print the disease information.
FPAdvisor allows you to create a query using a combination of any of the symptoms listed below. Brief definitions are given when the meaning of the listed symptom may not be self-explanatory.