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Home / Journals / Science Journal of Public Health / Outbreak Investigations
Outbreak Investigations
Lead Guest Editor:
Gemechu Beffa Defi
Ministry of Health, Field Epidemiology Training Program, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Guest Editors
Gemechu Gudina Bulcha
Ministry of Health, Field Epidemiology Training Program
Addis Ababa, Addis Ababa City Council, Ethiopia
Fikre Bulti
Ministry of Health, Field Epidemiology Training Program
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Introduction
Public health surveillance involves the systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of the morbidity and mortality data essential to the planning, implementation and evaluation of public health practice, and the timely dissemination of this information for public health action. The primary goal of surveillance for disease outbreaks should be the prompt identification of any unusual disease or diseases potentially transmitted through known routes, which might require a public health investigation or response.

Specific objectives include:

1. Control of ongoing outbreaks;
2. Detection and removal of known factors;
3. Identification of specific risk factors related to the host, the agent and the environment;
4. Identification of factors that contributed to the contamination, growth, survival and dissemination of the suspected agent;
5. Prevention of future outbreaks and strengthening of safety policies;
6. Acquisition of epidemiological data for risk assessment such as pathogens;
7. Stimulation of research that will help in the prevention of similar outbreaks.

The scale of an outbreak may range from a local outbreak of a small number of linked cases with mild disease to a nationwide or international outbreak of severe disease involving the mobilization of public health resources from all levels. Irrespective of the scale, a full investigation of a disease outbreak will normally include:

1. Epidemiological investigations;
2. Environmental and food investigations;
3. Laboratory investigations.
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