2.2.1: Determine the date of emergence
The date of emergence is often unknown when a health event is first detected. Epidemiologic information gathered during the outbreak investigation should be used to determine the date, based on whatever information is available. The date may then change as more is learned and earlier cases are identified.
The approach to determining the date of emergence varies by type of public health event:
- Endemic diseases: the date when a predetermined increase in case incidence over baseline rates occurred (e.g., IDSR alert thresholds).
- Non-endemic diseases: the date when the index case or first epidemiologically-linked case experienced symptoms.
- Other health threats: the date the threat first met criteria as a reportable event, based on existing reporting standards.
Examples of date of emergence for different event types
|Event type||Example of date of emergence|
|Endemic disease (e.g., malaria)||Malaria alert thresholds are incidence-based in country X. On epidemiologic week 32, malaria cases surpassed the alert threshold of 50 cases per 100,000 population in district Y. Because data are aggregated and analyzed weekly, the last day of epidemiologic week 32 would be the date of emergence.|
|Non-endemic disease (e.g., Ebola virus disease [EVD] in a human)||The date of outbreak emergence would be the date when the index case or first epidemiologically-linked case experienced EVD symptom onset.|
|Animal disease (e.g., avian influenza in a bird)||The date of outbreak emergence would be the earliest known date of symptom onset in a bird, or the earliest known date of death if no other symptom data are available.|
|Other health threats (e.g., contaminated food product)||The date of outbreak emergence would be the earliest date of symptom onset among persons exposed to the contaminated product.|
Global health security is only as strong as the weakest link.
Sign up for our newsletter and stay updated on the latest from the 7-1-7 Alliance community of practice.