Disease surveillance is a cornerstone of public health practice, enabling early detection, rapid characterization, and efficient response to public health threats like brucellosis. Healthcare providers and public health practitioners are key partners in effective brucellosis surveillance.

Brucellosis Case Definition

The brucellosis surveillance case definition, available at the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) site, provides a set of uniform criteria used to define the disease for public health surveillance. This definition enables public health officials to classify and count cases consistently across jurisdictions.

Historic CDC Surveillance Data

CDC maintains brucellosis surveillance data that are published weekly and annually. These data are available in the NNDSS notifiable infectious disease data tables data tables.

Case Reporting

Brucellosis is a reportable condition in all states and territories. Brucellosis cases must be reported to jurisdictions when identified by a healthcare provider, hospital, or laboratory. Specific reporting requirements – including who must report, how to report, and timing of report – may vary by jurisdiction.

Case Notification

Brucellosis is a nationally notifiable condition (NNC). In 2009, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE)external icon developed criteria pdf icon[PDF – 44 KB] for timeliness of NNC case notifications. CSTE requests the following notifications pdf icon[PDF – 13 KB]external icon for confirmed or probable brucellosis cases, dependent on the situation:

Immediate, Urgent: Notification within 24 hours

  • Notification criteria: In the event of multiple brucellosis cases, temporally or spatially clustered.
  • What to do: The state/territorial epidemiologist (or delegate) should call the CDC Emergency Operations Center (EOC) within 24 hours of knowing the notification criteria are met.
  • A CDC subject matter expert (SME) will call back within 4 hours and send written or email confirmation that the case notification was received by CDC.
  • Electronic transmission to NNDSS should be completed by the next regularly scheduled transmission cycle (see Data Submission below).
    • Changes in case classification should also be submitted by the next regularly scheduled transmission cycle.

Following immediate, urgent notification:

  • For subsequent epidemiologically linked cases: The state/territorial epidemiologist (or delegate) should directly notify the CDC staff who responded to the initial notification, rather than contacting the CDC EOC.
  • If a patient is determined to meet case classification criteria during a discussion with CDC, additional notification to the CDC EOC is not needed.

Standard: Notification by electronic transmission

  • Notification criteria: In the event of brucellosis cases that are NOT temporally or spatially clustered.
  • Electronic transmission to NNDSS should be completed by the next regularly scheduled transmission cycle (see Data Submission).
    • Changes in case classification should also be submitted by the next regularly scheduled transmission cycle.

Data Submission

National-level monitoring of notifiable conditions helps protect the health of the nation. Information from surveillance notifications shared by health departments can be used to better understand disease occurrence, impacted populations, and appropriate prevention and response strategies.

If a patient meets probable or confirmed case criteria, CSTE requests that general information about the patient and disease be submitted to NNDSS using NETSS messages or the generic message mapping guide. For timeliness of electronic reporting, see Case Notification, above.

At this time, additional disease-specific (extended) data for brucellosis cases can be shared separately through the following channels:

  • Brucellosis case report form (CRF)

The case report form is available in English as a fillable PDF form that can be completed electronically or can be printed and completed by hand. Completed forms can be emailed, faxed, or mailed to CDC.

Brucellosis Case Report Form pdf icon[PDF – 1086 KB, Print and Fillable PDF]

  • Bacterial Special Pathogens Branch (BSPB) DCIPHER Portal

DCIPHER is a web-based data integration platform that is used by several CDC programs. CDC is now also using this platform for brucellosis surveillance, linking case data to CDC laboratory and NNDSS data.

DCIPHER features fillable forms, and point-and-click visualization and tabulation tools. These tools can be used by CDC and jurisdictions to rapidly aggregate and visualize case data, share visualizations and simple analyses, and link case data with other data sources to gain regional or national perspectives on outbreaks, other public health events, and surveillance.

Access to the BSPB DCIPHER portal is granted via SAMS credentialing. Options for data submission using DCIPHER include:

  1. Direct entry into a web-based form, similar to the existing CRFs
  2. Submission of a data extract from a jurisdictional surveillance system as a CSV file. Submitters can upload the CSV file directly into DCIPHER, via a SAMS folder, or send using another secure method

Jurisdictions may benefit from using the visualization and tabulation tools within DCIPHER, and can access the BSPB DCIPHER portal regardless of which method they choose to share disease-specific surveillance data.

To request DCIPHER access, for more information about the system, or if there are other surveillance-related questions, contact BSPB at