7.1.5 - Communicating Findings

Finally, the findings of the investigation must be communicated to those who need to know. This communication usually takes two forms:

  1. an oral briefing for local health authorities, and
  2. a written report.

The oral briefing should be attended by the local health authorities and people responsible for implementing control and prevention measures. This presentation allows the investigator to describe what was done, what was found and what should be done. Findings are presented in scientifically objective fashion. Be prepared to defend your conclusions and recommendations.

A written report that follows the usual scientific format of introduction, background, methods, results, discussion, and recommendations will also be produced. By formally presenting recommendations, the report provides a blueprint for action. It also serves as a record of performance, a document for potential legal issues, and a reference if the health department encounters a similar situation in the future. Finally, a report that finds its way into the public health literature serves the broader purpose of contributing to the scientific knowledge base of epidemiology and public health.

You can learn about past and ongoing Salmonella outbreaks that involve CDC. Outbreaks are more frequent than one might think!