An outbreak chronology, or timeline of events, is a record of the important events that occurred during an outbreak investigation. There are two general types:
Tabular or text-based: detailed summary of all important events occurring each day during the outbreak investigation (commonly used in practice).
Visual: includes only main events plotted on an epidemic curve.
Question 4-3: What events should be included in a chronology?
Number of cases by case type (for each date in the chronology)
Investigation steps (e.g., date outbreak identified, date lead agency notified, date outbreak declared, date traceback begins, date hypothesis-generation begins, date(s) of results (laboratory, traceback, epidemiologic), date of OICC activation/deactivation, date an epidemiologic assessment is prepared, date outbreak declared over)
Date(s) of public health action: risk communication to the public, awareness campaigns, recall of products, and closure of establishment.
Other important communications that took place between partners (e.g., questionnaire collection, clarifications, investigation discussions, new information that is gathered, phone calls between partners and what was discussed)