Outbreak Surveillance

Thursday 9th February 2023

Outbreak Surveillance

Disease outbreaks are localised increases in the occurrence of disease clearly in excess of normally expected levels. Disease outbreaks are often related to contaminated food or water, or to illness spread from person to person. Every year, hundreds of people in New Zealand become unwell due to disease outbreaks, most of which are preventable.

The Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited (ESR) has a central role in outbreak surveillance. 

This work includes :

  • Regular analysis of notification and laboratory surveillance data to identify disease outbreaks early and minimise further spread of disease. 
  • Operation of an outbreak surveillance system on behalf of the Ministry of Health. Outbreaks reported to and investigated by New Zealand public health units are recorded on the outbreak report form in EpiSurv. This data is a resource for multiple agencies seeking to understand local and national patterns of disease in New Zealand and develop strategies for disease outbreak prevention. Information about outbreaks is reported in the Annual Outbreak Summary, the Monthly Surveillance ReportNZPHSR, and the Annual Surveillance Summary.
  • On request, ESR provides advice on outbreak detection and investigation to public health unit staff.
  • ESR may contribute to and coordinate the investigation of disease outbreaks of national importance, particularly those involving more than one health district.    




Ph: +64 4 914 0700 Fax: +64 4 914 0770 Email: survqueries@esr.cri.nz