Health Protection Surveillance Centre

When the media reports an "outbreak" of a particular disease, have you ever wondered just who declared the outbreak? Or who gets to decide when an outbreak becomes an epidemic? In Ireland, these responsibilities lie with the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).

The HPSC is part of the Health Service Executive (HSE). The agency was set up in 1998 to monitor infectious diseases in Ireland, and was originally known as the National Disease Surveillance Centre. The centres purpose is not solely to announce epidemics, but to prevent them in future by research and surveillance. The HPSC works alongside Irish hospitals and doctors to gather the most accurate information possible on infectious diseases.

As part of a shared network of similar organisations worldwide, the HPSC has the most up-to-date information on the spread of disease here and elsewhere.

What does the HPSC do?

The HPSC is a national centre that monitors dangerous infectious diseases, and uses its research to inform health officials and the general public on the latest developments of these diseases in Ireland. They are responsible for alerting the public and the health community to outbreaks when they occur, and they conduct research into how such outbreaks can be controlled or prevented.

The Centre also issues advice to the general public and healthcare providers. For instance in recent years, the HPSC has produced guidelines for hospitals on how to prevent the spread of MRSA and on the prudent use of antibiotics, and has campaigned to parents on the importance of getting their children vaccinated against measles.

Where can they be contacted?

You can contact the HPSC at:

  • Address: 25 - 27 Middle Gardiner Street, Dublin 1, Ireland.
  • Tel: (01) 8765300
  • Fax: (01) 8561299
  • Email:
  • Web:

Reviewed: September 20, 2006