Definition of outbreak

An outbreak of infection or foodborne illness may be defined as two or more linked cases of the same illness or the situation where the observed number of cases exceeds the expected number, or a single case of disease caused by a significant pathogen (e.g. diphtheria or viral haemorrhagic fever). Outbreaks may be confined to some of the members of one family or may be more widespread and involve cases either locally, nationally or internationally.