Outbreak investigation guidelines

Outbreak report forms, guidance, response plan
Gastrointestinal outbreak investigation guidelines 
Please report all outbreaks of enteric illness to us and/or the appropriate local public health agency within 24 hours after the outbreak is detected. Local public health agencies should call us at 303-692-2700 to report outbreaks and obtain an outbreak ID number, especially before sending specimens to the state public health laboratory for testing.
Here are some examples of outbreaks that should be reported to us:
  • Suspected C. perfringens after a wedding meal.
  • E. coli O157 associated with visiting a petting zoo.
  • Shigella at a child care center.
  • Cryptosporidium at swimming pool.
  • Suspected norovirus outbreak at a long-term care facility or summer camp.
Resources to use during the investigation
Outbreak reporting forms 
When the outbreak is over, it's very important to complete an outbreak report form with appropriate summary data so the outbreak can be officially reported to the CDC. When the outbreak is over, please fax the appropriate form to us at 303-782-0338. We'll report the data to the CDC. Depending on the route of transmission, use one of the following three forms:
1. Most outbreaks of enteric illness should be reported using the Enteric Illness Report Form (NORS Form). This includes outbreaks with the following routes of transmission:
2. Outbreaks that meet all three of the following criteria can be reported using our shorter Gastroenteritis (Norovirus) Outbreak Report Form for Healthcare and Residential Facilities
  • Known or suspected viral gastroenteritis.
  • Occur at a long-term care facility or other residential setting, such as a group home.
  • The primary route of transmission is person-to-person.
3. Any waterborne outbreak should be reported using a special NORS-water form, available on the CDC website. This includes outbreaks related to drinking water or to recreational water, such as a lake or swimming pool.