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Writing an Outbreak Investigation Report

Last modified at 3/17/2017 11:10 AM by Vladimir Prikazsky


An outbreak report is a document summarizing all the steps, main findings and recommendations of the outbreak investigation. It is a public record which has to be:

  • objective to reflect the reality of the investigation,

  • clear so that decision makers and the scientific community can understand and use its content, and

  • timelyto provide feedback and recommendations on time to those who need them.

It is better to have a short outbreak report soon rather than a very long document many months or years after the investigation.An outbreak investigation is not completed until the outbreak report is written and agreed upon by all partners involved in the investigation. This chapter describe why it is important to write it, who writes and who uses the outbreak report. Secondly we will present how the structure of the outbreak should be and then discuss the main problems encountered when writing an outbreak report.

In this chapter, we will describe what an outbreak investigation report is, why it is important, and who writes and reads it, then we will shortly present some "rules" about the writing style and the structure of the report, and finally present some common problems in writing the report.