The recent epidemics of Lassa fever in Nigeria, Ebola virus disease in West Africa, MERS-CoV in the Middle East, Yellow Fever in DRC,  Angola and Brazil, avian influenza in Asia and Africa and Zika virus in the Americas demonstrate that emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases pose a major and ongoing threat to public health around the world. The constant threat of infectious disease outbreaks highlight the need for rapid, coordinated and multidisciplinary field responses to mitigate the spread of disease.

The 32 institutes of the Institut Pasteur International Network (IPIN), located across 26 countries and five continents, have long been at the forefront of preparing for, monitoring and responding to infectious disease outbreaks. Building on the strong technical capacities at Pasteur and its relationships with local partners from the IPIN, the Center for Global Health created the Pasteur Outbreak Investigation Task Force in 2015 to respond rapidly to and support local investigation and control of infectious disease outbreaks, currently coordinated by Dr. Eileen Farnon, a Medical Epidemiologist and Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine specialist experienced in outbreak investigation and response.

The OITF operates to support local authorities in the response to infectious disease outbreaks, in support of Pasteur Institutes throughout the IPIN as well as multilateral responses through GOARN, the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, for which Institut Pasteur was a founding member.  The OITF volunteers provide their scientific expertise to assist with outbreak investigations to better understand emergence, transmission, and control of emerging and re-emerging diseases.

The OITF facilitates generation of high-quality laboratory, epidemiological and clinical data to be rapidly documented in the field, via epidemiological investigations, clinical description of cases, surveillance in humans or animals, genetic sequencing and other techniques. This is complemented by sophisticated statistical, mathematical, and bioinformatics methods, which can be integrated in standardized protocols and platforms able to cope with the massive influx of data during outbreaks.

The OITF enables Institut Pasteur and its partners to further develop and coordinate responses to future outbreaks, translating results from outbreak investigations to inform the management and control of future outbreaks, and contribute to global data sharing for research and development of new diagnostic tests, treatments and vaccines.


Roster of Experts

The multidisciplinary Outbreak Investigation Task Force (OITF) draws on the expertise and experience of scientists at the Institut Pasteur and Institut Pasteur International Network. Our roster of experts is composed of epidemiologists, virologists, microbiologists, entomologists, veterinarians, social scientists, clinicians and others with experience in infectious disease outbreaks. The OITF works with local leadership and partners to investigate and control outbreaks, and make informed recommendations to advise local and national authorities.

Outbreak Investigation Training

Outbreak Investigation Task Force (OITF) roster members receive advanced training in conducting infectious disease field investigations before being deployed with the OITF. In 2016, the inaugural Outbreak Investigation training course for members of the Institut Pasteur International Network (IPIN) was held at Institut Pasteur.  The Spring 2019 OITF Course in Outbreak Investigation & Response for participants from the Asia-Pacific region was held at Institut Pasteur du Cambodge in collaboration with the Hong Kong University-Pasteur Research Pole during March, 2019.  This was the first in a series of regional courses offered annually to members of the OITF in the IPIN and collaborating institutions. OITF Course CambodiaIntroduction to Outbreak Investigation & Response Course participants, Institut Pasteur of Cambodia, March 2019   Outbreak Investigation training course participants, Paris, 2016

International partners

Coordination is essential in responding to an outbreak of an emerging or re-emerging pathogen in order to limit the spread of the disease. As a result, the Outbreak Investigation Task Force (OITF) works collaboratively internally within the IPIN as well as with domestic and international partners to conduct required training, establish processes for deployment, coordinate activities before and during infectious disease outbreaks, and share experiences in preparing for and responding to infectious disease outbreaks.