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Guidance

Guidelines for investigation of outbreaks of food- and waterborne diseases

Published

These guidelines describe the methods, procedures and responsibilities for investigation and management of outbreaks of diseases in which foods, beverages, drinking water or animals are the suspected source of infection.

These guidelines describe the methods, procedures and responsibilities for investigation and management of outbreaks of diseases in which foods, beverages, drinking water or animals are the suspected source of infection.


Key message

The guidelines provide practical tools for all authorities and agencies involved in outbreak investigation and in implementation of preventive measures. Outbreak investigation is a multi-disciplinary and inter-sectorial process. Although the authorities responsible for investigation and management of outbreaks varies between countries, successful investigation will usually require close cooperation between an agency responsible for the public health sector and the food safety authorities. An important purpose of these guidelines is to emphasize the necessity of this cooperation and describe what it entails in practice.

Outbreak investigation consists of a number of different steps, although the sequence with which these steps are conducted varies. Each step is the subject of a separate chapter in these guidelines. 

The guidelines include three template questionnaires with user instructions that may be employed for: (1) hypothesis-generating pilot interviews, (2) cohort studies and (3) for systematic collection of information from persons who believe they have become ill from food or water (the primary interview).

The questionnaires are available in Word-format to facilitate adaption to the current outbreak and to local conditions and food habits. Download the questionnaires above. 

  • Pilot interview template questionnaire (Word)
  • Cohort study template questionnaire (Word)
  • Primary interview template questionnaire (Word)

Contact persons: Georg Kapperud and Heidi Lange

Downloadable

Authors

About this publication

  • Year: 2018
  • By: Folkehelseinstituttet
  • Authors Kapperud G.