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Steps of an Outbreak Investigation

Steps of an Outbreak Investigation

On this Page
Step 1: Prepare for Field Work
Step 2: Establish the Existence of an Outbreak
Step 3: Verify the Diagnosis
Step 4: Define and Identify Cases
Step 5: Describe and Orient the Data
Step 6: Develop Hypotheses
Step 7: Evaluate Hypotheses
Step 8: Refine Hypotheses
Step 9: Implement Control and Prevention Measures
Step 10: Communicate Findings

In investigating an outbreak, speed is essential, but getting the right answer is essential, too. To satisfy both requirements, epidemiologists approach investigations systematically, using the following 10 steps:

1. Prepare for field work
2. Establish the existence of an outbreak
3. Verify the diagnosis
4. Define and identify cases
5. Describe and orient the data in terms of time, place, and person
6. Develop hypotheses
7. Evaluate hypotheses
8. Refine hypotheses and carry out additional studies
9. Implement control and prevention measures
10. Communicate findings

The steps are presented here in conceptual order. In practice, however, several may be done at the same time, or they may be done in a different order. For example, control measures should be implemented as soon as the source and mode of transmission are known, which may be early or late in any particular outbreak investigation.

source: http://cdc.gov

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