Outbreak Summaries Overview

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What is it?

Outbreak Summaries (OS) is a tool that has been created for local, provincial, territorial and federal public health authorities to assist them in summarizing the results of enteric, respiratory and vaccine preventable disease outbreak investigations.

OS is a secure web-based application hosted by the Canadian Network for Public Health Intelligence (CNPHI) that allows users to summarize outbreak information in a systematic and standardized manner. Users collect, query, summarize and generate reports on the results of outbreak investigations within their jurisdiction and across the country.


OS allows users to collect, query, summarize and generate reports on outbreaks within the following content areas:

  • Reporting jurisdiction
  • Event information (outbreak number, dates)
  • Case information
  • Organism description
  • Exposure details
  • Primary mode of transmission
  • Source details
  • Investigation methods
  • Contributing factors
  • Public health interventions


OS users can:

  • link existing Public Health Alerts to summary reports
  • include sensitive jurisdiction-specific information that is only viewable by users within the reporting jurisdiction
  • attach documents to their summary reports (epidemic curves, maps, and other relevant information)
  • link related outbreaks that have summary reports created in other jurisdictions
  • create simple queries and extract line lists, graphs, etc. and export data sets in spreadsheet format based on user defined criteria.


OS allows users to monitor trends in outbreaks and provides a basis for policy development and public health planning. OS can be used to query similar outbreaks in other jurisdictions to assist with outbreak response (e.g., identifying public health interventions, sources attributed to previous outbreaks, etc.). Through OS, the potential exists to monitor trends and patterns in outbreaks at the local, provincial, territorial and national level.

Current status – enteric module

As of 2020, eleven provinces and territories (British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) and Public Health Agency of Canada have progressively implemented reporting of enteric outbreaks through the OS tool.

The enteric OS module continues to be a key source of information for nationally reported outbreak investigations across Canada. As the depth of the information contained within the module grows, an increasingly complete national picture of enteric outbreaks in Canada is emerging.

The enteric module is supported by the Outbreak Management Division, Centre for Foodborne, Environmental and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (OMD-CFEZID), PHAC. OMD-CFEZID can provide support and resources to new users for implementation and ongoing participation in OS. Please refer to contact information provided below.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

Outbreak Management Division
Centre for Foodborne, Environmental and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, PHAC