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Language: English

Guidelines for Investigation of Suspicious Biological Events

[Suspicious Events Guidelines]

A compilation of relevant issues that should be considered in planning for the response to suspicious disease events in relation to animal health. In addition, these Guidelines call for intersectoral and interregional cooperation in relation to investigation and management of such events.


The Guidelines for Investigation of Suspicious Biological Events was designed to fill a gap in the biosecurity landscape where veterinary laboratories and services were not being included in bioterrorism mitigation efforts and risk reduction. These Guidelines are meant to establish good practices for identifying biological events in animals that warrant further investigation, with an emphasis on collaborating with other agencies throughout the process. The Guidelines outline steps for pre-event planning, incident assessment, response operations and recovery, promoting a One Health approach throughout. It also provides a template for an evidence chain of custody tracking form that helps identify responsible parties in the case of an incident. 

The Guidelines were published in 2018 by the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) as part of a larger biothreat reduction strategy, and are available in English. The OIE is an intergovernmental organization with 182 member countries. The organization is responsible for safeguarding and improving animal health worldwide. It is recognized as a reference organization by the World Trade Organization and maintains permanent relations with nearly 75 other international and regional organizations. WOAH champions a “One Health” approach to health security, which asserts that human and animal health are interdependent and that preventing diseases in animals is the most effective way to safeguard human health.