The Definitive Guide to Investigating Public Health Outbreaks

Ever wonder how disease detectives at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conduct outbreak responses? Even disease detectives need guidance on how to handle different stages of an outbreak investigation—from identification to intervention and other core considerations along the way.

To serve this need, Oxford University Press recently published The CDC Field Epidemiology Manual through a partnership with CDC and the CDC Foundation. The manual serves as a definitive guide to investigating acute public health events on the ground and in real time. Assembled and written by experts from CDC as well as other leading public health agencies, the current version also provides:

  • Recommendations and guidance for using new tools in field investigations, including geographic information system data;
  • Practical guidance for conducting investigations of major types of problems and in multiple settings, including outbreaks of violence, suicide and other forms of injury; multinational outbreaks; outbreaks in healthcare and community-care settings; and environmental exposures; and
  • Case-study examples of lessons learned from recent field investigations.

The CDC Field Epidemiology Manual is written in an easy-to-read format and enriched with callout boxes and bulleted points to optimize utility for investigators in the field. The manual serves as an essential resource for epidemiologists and other health professionals working in local, state, national and international settings.

The editors of the manual are Sonja A. Rasmussen, MD, MS, and Richard A. Goodman, MD, JD, MPH. Dr. Rasmussen was the director of CDC’s Division of Public Health Information Dissemination in the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services and editor-in-chief of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Series while serving as the editor of this book. Dr. Goodman is professor of medicine at Emory University’s School of Medicine and Rollins School of Public Health.

While outbreaks and field investigations can be complex and challenging, this manual provides a ready-made resource to assist. The manual  is available free online, as well as in hardcover, paperback, and E-book versions through Oxford University Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. A portion of the proceeds from this book are being donated to the CDC Foundation by Oxford University Press.



Claire Stinson is a senior communications officer for the CDC Foundation.