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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
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Develop a Surveillance Plan: Introduction Section

The introduction section of an outbreak surveillance plan should list the agencies involved in the surveillance activities as well as the goals of the surveillance plan and any pertinent background information. If possible, map(s) should be included in this section of the surveillance plan to show the geographic area(s) affected by the surveillance activities.

What to include

Participating agencies and their roles

List the agencies (federal, State, local) that are known to be involved in the outbreak. This can be expanded later on, so do not worry if the list is not complete in the first draft. Some of the resources that may be helpful for completing this subsection of the surveillance plan are:
  • VS Guidance 12001.3 and Ready Reference Guide for 12001.3- Procedures for the investigation of potential foreign animal disease/emerging disease incidents (FAD/EDI)
  • State Animal Health Officials List - names and contact information for State chief animal health officials
  • National Wildlife Disease Program- names and contact information for USDA APHIS Wildlife Services staff that can assist with surveillance activities for a FAD in wildlife
  • FSIS- USDA Food Safety Inspection Services Office of Field Operations List- names and contact information for USDA FSIS staff that can assist with implementing surveillance activities by veterinary and lay inspectors for a FAD in livestock that enter federally-inspected slaughter plants

If APHIS is taking the lead in responding/managing the response, then this sentence may be included: “The Emergency Management Response System (EMRS) database will be used to manage the [insert disease] outbreak.

Surveillance Goals

Describe the goals that the surveillance is intended to accomplish. For example, the immediate goals might be to (1) determine the extent of the current outbreak of the highly contagious disease in question, i.e. detect all infected premises (and all diseased animals), and (2) establish the appropriate outbreak surveillance disease control Areas/Zones.  Another goal  might be to maintain business continuity.

Background Information

Provide an overview of the current disease outbreak situation that has led to the need for this version of  the Surveillance Plan. This might include chronology of the outbreak, the location of all infected premises, and the current status of surveillance activities.


Provide map(s) of the State(s) in which the outbreak is occurring.  Include location of premises currently known to be involved in the outbreak as well as other reference points  such as  county lines and cities/towns.

Action Items

Write the Introduction section of the surveillance plan- Open the surveillance plan template in MS Word as a read-only file, save it under another name, and then begin to add information to the Introduction Section. Click here to preview the template content in your browser.

Tip: Do not spend too much time on this section initially; you can add content to this section later as more details are learned.

Complementary Content