BAG KEA - Competence Centre for Epidemiological Outbreak Investigations
In Switzerland, foodborne infections such as listeriosis, salmonellosis or campylobacteriosis are notifiable diseases and are under close surveillance by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). Annually, one to three outbreaks of one of these diseases have been observed in Switzerland. The FOPH has mandated Swiss TPH to lead the Competence Centre for Epidemiological Outbreak Investigations (KEA), which has been initiated with the aim to support the FOPH in the development of technical expertise related to epidemiological outbreak investigations and optimize the investigation preparedness. Depending on the number of cases, the severity of the illness and the duration of the outbreak, the FOPH activates the KEA to initiate comprehensive epidemiological investigations. To protect the health of the population, the objectives of the KEA are (a) to identify the source of infection and associated risk behaviour as quickly as possible and (b) to inform authorities to initiate measures preventing the further spread of the disease.
In March 2023, following a competitive tendering process, the FOPH re-awarded the mandate to manage the KEA at Swiss TPH for another 5 years. Swiss TPH can draw upon its experiences during the previous phases of the KEA since 2012. In case of an outbreak investigation a team of in-house and external experts will be mobilized to allow for a timely and effective investigation.
In addition to the creation and maintenance of efficient structures and framework conditions necessary for effective outbreak investigations, the KEA team at Swiss TPH is providing the following products and services: 1. Advising the FOPH on specific topics on request (literature review, secondary data analysis, prosess evaluations); 2. Elaboration of a central digital solution for outbreak investigations in Switzerland; 3. Carrying out the systematic survey of all listeriosis cases reported to the FOPH; 4. Provide technical advice to federal and cantonal authorities on epidemiology and biostatistics on epidemiological issues.