The NICD is an expert advisory body providing specialist advice in outbreak situations as well as offering laboratory support when required. We provide technical support for all aspects of communicable disease outbreaks and control in the nine provinces of South Africa, with special emphasis on optimising the role of laboratory services during these events. The NICD aims to be a source of intelligence during these outbreaks and through working in close collaboration with the provincial and national Departments of Health (DoH). Furthermore we ensure a comprehensive outbreak response development of systems for early detection and improved reporting. In addition, close partnerships with the NHLS diagnostic laboratories and reference units of the NICD aims to deliver appropriate laboratory diagnostic services during outbreaks and specialised tests are required.