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2.2.3: Determine the date of notification

The date of notification is the date the event is first reported to a public health authority responsible for action. For countries that require notification of reportable events to multiple levels of government that are tasked with different actions, the earliest date that any of these public health authorities were notified would be the date of notification. Oftentimes, the most immediate public health jurisdiction (city, district) will be the public health authority responsible for action and the first public health authority to be notified. In some guidance, this step may be referred to as ‘reporting’ to a public health authority or district health team.

Notification of responsible health authorities could be from a clinical setting to a district surveillance officer. In the case of event-based surveillance or when outbreaks are detected centrally, notification to a responsible authority might be from the central level to the subnational level. This step should not be confused with notification to WHO as defined by the International Health Regulations (2005), which is typically only done after local or national public health authorities have become aware of an event.

Examples of date of notification, by notification scenario
Notification Scenario Example of date of notification
Epidemic-prone disease detected by a health worker (e.g., EVD) The date when a clinician or facility surveillance focal point contacted the public health department or local surveillance officer to inform them of a suspected viral hemorrhagic fever case. Note: if the facility sent the specimen (i.e., detected the case) but did not contact a public health department or local surveillance officer, and public health authorities only became aware of the suspected case when the laboratory result became available, the date the public health authorities received the laboratory result would constitute the date of notification.
Event detected by a community health worker If a community health worker reported the event to a surveillance officer or public health department directly, this would be the date of notification. If a community health worker reported the event to a health facility, the date of notification is when the health facility reported the event to the surveillance officer or public health department.
Event detected by a central media scanning unit The date when the central media scanning unit or EBS program notified the public health authorities at the jurisdiction level responsible for investigating or responding to the event.
Event detected by aggregate indicator-based surveillance The date when the analyst or surveillance officer notified a member of the team responsible for investigation or public health response.

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