About

The recent epidemics of Ebola 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 33 institutes of the Institut Pasteur International Network, 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 33 Institutes of the Institut Pasteur International Network (IPIN), the Center for Global Health has created the Outbreak Investigation Task Force to respond rapidly to and support local investigation and control of infectious disease outbreaks, coordinated by Dr Maria Van Kerkhove.

The OITF operates to support local authorities in the management of and response to an infectious disease outbreak, through investigations to better understand emergence and transmission patterns of emerging and re-emerging pathogens.

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

The OITF enables the Institut Pasteur to further develop and coordinate responses to future outbreaks, translating results from outbreak investigations into improvements in the management and control of outbreaks, and contribute to the global data sharing for the 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 rapidly evaluate the impact of an outbreak, design optimal control strategies and appropriately advise local authorities and policy makers.

Outbreak Investigation Training

All Outbreak Investigation Task Force (OITF) roster members receive advanced training in conducting infectious disease field investigations before being deployed with the OITF. In 2016, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove and Professor Malik Peiris conducted the inaugural Outbreak Investigation training course for members of the Institut Pasteur International Network. This follows on from infectious disease outbreak courses held in Vietnam in November 2015 Dr Roberto Bruzonne.

Enrollment for future Outbreak Investigation training courses can be found here

2016 Outbreak Investigation training course participants, Paris

 

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 with international partners to set standards for trainings required, to establish processes for deployment, to coordinate activities before and during infectious disease outbreaks and to share experiences in preparing for and responding to infectious disease outbreaks. These international partners include:

World Health Organization GOARN and Emergency Work Force

World Health Organization African Regional Office (AFRO) ‘Rapid Response Teams’

United Kingdom: Public Health England ‘Rapid Support Team’

United States: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ‘Global Rapid Response Team’

China: Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention ‘Rapid Response Team’

European Union: DG Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, European Medical Corps ‘Public Health Response Teams’

Germany: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development ‘Rapid Deployment Team’

Japan: National Center for Global Health and Medicine / Japan International Cooperation Agency ‘Japan Disaster Relief Team’

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Médecins Sans Frontières