We should use the scientific style to write outbreak reports.

The scientific style is:

  • precise - we should define accurately all elements needed to understand the study

  • clear - terms should be understood by non-experts

  • fluid - the text is organised so that any element in the study flows from elements already stated.

  • concise - short sentences, short paragraphs are used.

Rules include:

  • Before starting to write the report, identify your SOCO (single over-riding communications objective), which is the essence of the message that needs to be conveyed. Be sure that the content and structure of the report is appropriate to convey your main message.

  • Follow the recommended structure to avoid forgetting key elements

  • Avoid using complicated words and epidemiological jargon

  • Don't abuse of the passive voice

  • Define the terms used and the abbreviations

  • Use the past tense in the introduction, methods and results section

  • In the discussion use the present to discuss the results and the past tense when referring to the work of others