Field Epidemiology Training Program
Preventive Medicine Department, Ministry of Health, Riyadh,
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
518-21 FETP: Outbreak Investigations  (7- credit hours)
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Investigating an outbreak is one of the essential basic skills expected from a Field
Epidemiologist. This practical field training has been designed to develop the skills to work in
the local environment when the need arise. Resident is asked to conduct investigation of the
epidemic as the principal investigator, while guidance is provided by an FETP staff. This
activity is one of the strongest component of FETP training program.

To develop the skills to conduct an epidemic investigation while using the appropriate
scientific principles
To develop the understanding of disease occurrence and spread
To support the MOH in conducting epidemiological investigation and control

As the opportunities arise, FETP supervisor will nominate the resident(s) to investigate
the epidemics depending on the other assignments of the residents, expected workload
and logistic facilities.
During the stay in the program attempt will be made to provide each resident to
investigate 2 epidemics as lead investigator and another 2 as participant.
As part of this activity the resident will perform the following activities, under the direct
supervision of a FETP / DCFM-KSU consultant and specialist:
Collect the preliminary information about the outbreak by visiting the area, meeting the
local notables, examining the effected people in collaboration with the local Health
Design the data collection instruments to collect information about variables of interest
Collect the data from the different pertinent sources including patients, controls, health
records, municipality records, laboratory investigations, etc.
Enter the data by using appropriate computer software
Analyze the data to describe the distribution (person, place and time) and determinants
(agent, host and environment) of the epidemic
Write a report for Ministry of Health, in Arabic, describing the findings in brief and
giving recommendations for control of epidemic and prevention of its recurrence
Prepare a final report describing the purpose, methods, findings, and recommendations
for control and prevention for recurrence, conforming to the guidelines given in relevant
section, for submission to the university.
Present the findings etc of the study in round table meeting and epidemiological
Residents are encouraged to investigate an epidemic independently as principal
investigator, however a resident can share a maximum of one epidemic investigation/
short study with another resident as investigator during his training period, with the
written permission of study supervisor. In such a case the study supervisor will evaluate
both the investigators separately based on their relative inputs in the study.

A team of a specialist and a consultant of FETP or DCFM-KSU, will supervise closely the
planning, conduction, data analysis, report writing and presentation of outbreak
Arabic report to MOH within 10 days of his/her return from the field
If applicable, submit the University report along with report for Epidemiologic Bulletin,
Powerponit presentation and data disk within 2 month of return from field. However,
in case of delay in laboratory reports the report has to be submitted within 3 weeks of
receipt of final reports from concerned laboratory.
However all the reports should be submitted by 30th May during the 2nd year of
training.  (Or one outbreak investigation along with long project report must be
submitted by this date)

A maximum of two epidemics in which resident has acted as lead investigator (alone
or shared) will be sent to the University for evaluation as mandatory research
projects. The decision about which investigation’s report to be sent to university will
depend upon the mutual agreement of the Unit supervisor, supervisor of the epidemic
investigation and resident concerned.
Each of the two outbreak investigations (or short studies) submitted to university will
be assessed against a total of 350 marks, with a pass percentage of 70%.
50% of the total marks (i.e. 175 marks) will be evaluated by the supervisor of study
for ongoing evaluation of the resident’s study related activities (planning, field work,
data analysis, report writing).
The resident should score at least 50% of these marks before his written report can be
submitted to university.
50% of the total marks (i.e. 175 marks) will be evaluated by the examiner, assigned
by the University, on the basis of final report submitted, based on following criteria,
which will carry 50% of the total score: Abstract 10%; Introduction 10%; Methods 15%;
Results 30%; Discussion 25%; References and appendices 5%; and General layout 5%.
Participation in each epidemic investigation will be recorded in the logbook of all
participating residents for overall assessment at the end of program.
Delay in submission will result in deduction of 3 marks per week, after the due date
(however in case of unavoidable circumstance, beyond the resident’s control, this
deduction can be condoned by the supervisor of the FETP while explicitly giving the
Note: In case, a resident is unable to conduct the mandatory epidemic investigation
due to non-availability of opportunity or other logistic reasons he/she will conduct a
short study on the pattern of long term project, with a limited scope, as a
replacement of each mandatory epidemic investigation. Final report of such a project
will be 2000-3000 words, excluding table, figures and references. However, the last
date of submission of final report, supervisor’s choice and evaluation methods, will
remain as for outbreak investigation.
Diploma in Field Epidemiology (DFE) Course Layout
501 FETP: Principles of Epidemiology 502 FETP: Bio-statistics 503 FETP: Epidemiologic Application of Microcomputers 504 FETP: Infectious Disease Epidemiology 505 FETP: Chronic Disease Epidemiology 506 FETP: Scientific Writing and Report Preparation 507 FETP: Public Health Programs 508 FETP: Seminars in Epidemiology I 509 FETP: Seminar in Epidemilogy II 510 FETP: Seminar in Epidemilogy III
Diploma in Field Epidemiology (DFE) Course Unit
511 FETP: Seminar in Epidemilogy IV 512 FETP: Seminar in Epidemilogy V 513 FETP: Epidimiology Practice I 514 FETP: Epidimiology Practice II 515 FETP: Epidimiology Practice III 516 FETP: Epidimiology Practice IV 517 FETP: Epidimiology Practice V 518 FETP: Outbreak Investigations I 519 FETP: Outbreak Investigations II 520 FETP: Outbreak Investigations III
521 FETP: Outbreak Investigations IV 522 FETP: Surveillance Systems I 523 FETP: Surveillance Systems II 524 FETP: Surveillance Systems III 525 FETP: Surveillance Systems IV 526 FETP: Long Term Project 527 FETP: Scientific Presentations II 528 FETP: Scientific Presentations I 529 FETP: Training Activities I 530 FETP: Training Activities II