• Ensure that detailed information on the incident has been gathered, preferably from those responsible for investigating the incident at local or national level. See Checklist 1 for information that should be collected.Think as multidisciplinary as possible!
  • The incident information should be summarised for the risk assessment information table.
  • Collating the incident information is an essential first step in determining what further disease specific information and evidence is needed for assessing the risk. 

Checklist 1: Incident/event information

  • Who reported the incident/event?
    • Name
    • Organisation
    • Contact details
  • How has the incident/event come to light?
  • What is the primary diagnosis? 
  • Has the aetiologic agent been confirmed? 
  • Is this illness endemic in this country?
  • What is known about the exposure (means/mode of transmission)?
  • Where have cases occurred? Are the cases clustered in time and/or space?
  • Over what time period have cases been detected?
  • Who are the cases? Are they from a particular social group or setting?
  • How many cases are recognised at the moment?
  • What are the symptoms experienced by the cases?
  • Have any of the cases been seen by a specialist clinician? What is their working diagnosis and clinical findings? Case definition?
  • Have specimens been taken and where have they gone for analysis? Which tests have been performed, which tests are planned? When will results be available? What are the limitations of the test results that need to be considered? 
  • Have there been any deaths? Autopsy results?
  • Have the ambulance service, local hospitals, and doctors (including private practice) been warned?
  • Where are the cases being managed?
  • What is being done to manage cases at the moment?
    • What treatment, if any, has been instituted?
  • Who else has possibly been exposed and might be at risk of developing this illness? Has a list of these been made?
  • Are there any conditions occurring which might increase the risks to others, e.g. healthcare workers exposed, ongoing incident, weather forecasts? What is being done to prevent the development of new cases at the moment? For example:
    • Protection of emergency and healthcare staff
    • Quarantine
    • Prophylactic treatment
  • What agencies are involved at the moment? Get contact details. Has any agency declared a major incident? Who else has been informed?