Outbreak Investigations in Healthcare Settings

CDC works with health departments and federal agencies, such as the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)external icon, to protect patients and stop outbreaks from spreading in healthcare facilities. Often, these outbreaks are the result of either failures in infection control practices or contaminated equipment or medications.

During some outbreak situations, CDC sends experts to work side-by-side with facility and health department staff. For example, state health departments may contact CDC and request assistance through a process known as an Epi-Aid. Typically, these efforts include on-site assistance, laboratory support and additional consultation with experts at CDC headquarters. CDC advises the public about what they can do to protect themselves, provides recommendations to the medical and public health community about how to prevent future infections, and works closely with policymakers, regulatory agencies and industry to learn how to prevent similar outbreaks in the future.

In addition to formal Epi-Aid investigations, CDC routinely provides consultation and laboratory assistance to healthcare facilities and health departments that are working to solve outbreaks or investigate infection control breaches and other adverse events.

Epi-Aid Investigations Supported by CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion