COVID-19 Case Study

e-Learning Courses for FETP

Date published
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


This case study explores the processes for establishing surveillance and screening criteria and data capture for COVID-19 prior to an index case detection, and also for rapidly containing identified cases. It is based largely on the experience of Rwanda in quickly and proactively planning for COVID-19 cases, screening incoming travelers, and establishing effective and innovative testing and contact tracing procedures.

Participants will play the role of a health official in Rwanda involved in disease surveillance prior to the arrival of the first in-country case, and after the identification of Rwanda’s index case.

This case study has 6 parts and takes approximately 1 hour 30 minutes to complete. For the best experience, work through each part in order, beginning with Part 1: A Pandemic Emerges.

Target Audience

Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) residents, and alumni, and other public health practitioners interested in understanding the processes for establishing surveillance and screening criteria and data capture for COVID-19 prior to an index case detection and rapidly containing identified cases.

Before taking this case study, the learner should already be familiar with basic epidemiology and descriptive epidemiology, surveillance operations; and outbreak investigation.


  • English

Case Study Learning Objectives:

After completing this case study, you will be able to:
  • Review the key features of a surveillance system.

  • Describe the operation of a surveillance system in a local area.

  • Describe steps of an outbreak investigation.

  • Describe the optimal roles of the laboratory in outbreak investigations.

  • Define and calculate sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value.

  • Explain limitations in surveillance data.

  • Describe biases that can occur in surveillance data.

  • Discuss factors that affect community compliance with public health initiatives and mitigation measures that can be implemented to enhance community engagement.

  • Differentiate between indicator-based surveillance (IBS) and event-based surveillance (EBS) sources.

  • Propose recommendations for how indicator-based surveillance (IBS) and event-based surveillance (EBS) sources can be strengthened and used at various levels.

  • Propose an approach for investigating and containing an outbreak. 

  • Develop a single overarching communication outcome (SOCO).

COVID-19 Case Study

COVID-19 Case Study Overview Pretest
PART 1 – A Pandemic Emerges
PART 2 – Enhancing Preparedness
PART 3 – Case Detection
PART 4 – Strengthening Surveillance
PART 5 – Investigation and Control
PART 6 – Communicating Effectively

Downloadable Version

This case study is also accessible offline. For the offline version, please download the zip file.
In order to open the zip file and run the course:
Step One: Download the zip file
Step Two: Once it is downloaded, right-click the zip file to extract all
Step Three: Open the extracted folder
Step Four: Start each module by clicking the files named "Index" for each


This eLearning case study was supported by Cooperative Agreement number NU2HGH000044, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through TEPHINET, a program of The Task Force for Global Health. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, The Task Force for Global Health, Inc., or TEPHINET. This eLearning, developed by Wisewire, Inc. with input from Georgetown University, is based on a classroom version developed in 2021 by RTI International and Georgetown University.

Resource type
Learning Resource Package
Epidemiology training
Outbreak response
Disease surveillance
Public health surveillance
Country or Area
United States of America