School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Outbreak Investigation (PHCM9731)

image - Outbreak Investigation

This course can also be taken as part of the PLuS Alliance program


The focus of this course is on understanding disease outbreaks and the application of methods for their investigation and control in resource limited and developed settings. The course explores a number of outbreaks from around the world in case studies, lectures, discussion forums, webinars and readings to teach principles of outbreak detection, verification, investigation, communication and control. You will learn about outbreak data analysis and interpretation, outbreaks in vulnerable populations as well as the role of the laboratory. The Infectious Diseases Intelligence course takes the concepts taught in this course to a more advanced level, and should be taken together with Outbreak Investigation by students interested in a career in epidemic response.

Credit points

This course can be taken as an elective in the Master of Public Health program (9045) and other MPH streams, the Public Security stream (specialisation) of the Master of Public Health Program (PHCMZS9045), as well as the Master of International Public Health or Master of Infectious Diseases Intelligence. For students enrolled in these programs, the course comprises 6 units of credit towards the total required for completion of the study program.

Mode of study

External (Distance) and Internal (Face-to-Face) classes on campus.

Course aim

This course aims to give you the skills to rigorously investigate and control infectious diseases outbreaks.

Course Outcomes
At the conclusion of this course you should be able to:
  • Explain the role of disease surveillance in outbreak detection and investigation.
  • Describe best practice principles of outbreak investigations in diverse global settings.
  • Determine prevention and control measures for an outbreak response.
  • Analyse outbreak data to inform decision making.
  • Develop outbreak communications materials for various stakeholder audiences including health professionals and the general public.

Assessment Task 1 - Outbreak Scenario 1
Weighting: 40%
Length: 10 questions of up to 200 words each

Assessment Task 2 - Outbreak Scenario 2
Weighting: 60%
Length: 4 pages plus references

Reading and resources

Learning resources for this course are found in Moodle and include:

  • Readings (links)
  • Lectures slides (downloadable)
  • Video lectures (embedded)
  • Case studies (embedded)
  • Supplementary resources such as videos, etc.

This text provides many of the compulsory course readings:

  • Gregg, M. (2008). This text provides many of the compulsory course readings (3rd ed.). New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Available in the UNSW Library as an eBook.