Who or what determines if an outbreak is occurring?

When there is an outbreak, it’s discovered on a local level first, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physician say. 

For example, when patients go into doctors’ offices and test positive for the flu, those results are reported to the local health department. 

If the health department starts to see a pattern in a certain area of a community and the numbers of flu patients continue to grow, that might be the time the sickness starts to be considered an outbreak.

On a larger level, the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC) and the World Health OrganizationOff Site Icon (WHO) might address national- or global-level outbreaks.

For more information about who determine if an outbreak is occurring, talk with your doctor.