Principles and computer tools for outbreak investigation

25 Feb 2013 - 27 Feb 2013
Veyrier-du-Lac, France

ECDC delivered Training courses for communicable disease outbreak investigation in years 2007, 2008 and 2009 within a framework contract and more than 400 epidemiologists were trained. Still constant need was perceived and articulated from EU Member states. ECDC therefore decided to deliver new set of courses with the same aim.


The aim of this course was to strengthen participants’ knowledge and skills related to the investigation and analysis of communicable disease outbreaks affecting their country. To understand the methodological and organisational steps, analyse data using suitable software and interpret and communicate results. With this training participants were enabled to plan and conduct a descriptive outbreak investigation study, to select the appropriate design for an analytical study, and to communicate results of an outbreak investigation.

Learning objectives

Following this course the participants became independently capable of performing all tasks including defining objectives and plan an outbreak investigation, generate a hypothesis for the source, vehicle or risk factors, create a case definition, perform a descriptive and analytical analysis of an outbreak taking while using an appropriate design. Last but not least to interpret the data in terms of statistical significance and strength of the association, communicate results of an outbreak investigation.


A combination of methods was be used. Participants were instructed to study within two weeks before the course a set of recommended literature and follow recommended lessons put on line. This study was a prerequisite for good understanding of the face to face course content.

Target audience

The course was aimed at participants from EU Member states and EAA countries and Croatia (acceding country), epidemiologists with at least three years of experience, involved in outbreak investigations and surveillance, working in public health preferably at the national or regional level.


The course was registered for accreditation by European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME).