OBJECTIVE For providing evidences for further modification of China Infectious Diseases Automated-alert and Response System (CIDARS) by comparing the early-warning performance of the temporal model and temporal-spatial model in CIDARS. METHODS The application performance for outbreak detection of temporal model and temporal-spatial model simultaneously running among 208 pilot counties in 20 provinces from 2011 to 2013 was compared; the 16 infectious diseases were divided into two classes according to the disease incidence level; cases data in nationwide Notifiable Infectious Diseases Reporting Information System was combined with outbreaks reported to Public Health Emergency Reporting System, by adopting the index of the number of signals, sensitivity, false alarm rate and time for detection. RESULTS The overall sensitivity of temporal model and temporal-spatial model for 16 diseases was 96.23% (153/159) and 90.57% (144/159) respectively, without significant difference (Z = -1.604, P = 0.109), and the false alarm rate of temporal model (1.57%, 57 068/3 643 279) was significantly higher than that of temporal-spatial model (0.64%, 23 341/3 643 279) (Z = -3.408, P = 0.001), while the median time for detection of these two models was not significantly different, which was 3.0 days and 1.0 day respectively (Z = -1.334, P = 0.182).For 6 diseases of type I which represent the lower incidence, including epidemic hemorrhagic fever,Japanese encephalitis, dengue, meningococcal meningitis, typhus, leptospirosis, the sensitivity was 100% for both models (8/8, 8/8), and the false alarm rate of both temporal model and temporal-spatial model was 0.07% (954/1 367 437, 900/1 367 437), with the median time for detection being 2.5 days and 3.0 days respectively. The number of signals generated by temporal-spatial model was reduced by 2.29% compared with that of temporal model.For 10 diseases of type II which represent the higher incidence, including mumps, dysentery, scarlet fever, influenza, rubella, hepatitis E, acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis, hepatitis A, typhoid and paratyphoid, and other infectious diarrhea, the sensitivity of temporal model was 96.03% (145/151), and the sensitivity of temporal-spatial model was 90.07% (136/151), the number of signals generated by temporal-spatial model was reduced by 59.36% compared with that of temporal model. Compared to temporal model, temporal-spatial model reduced both the number of signals and the false alarm rate of all the type II diseases;and the median of outbreak detection time of temporal model and temporal-spatial model was 3.0 days and 1.0 day, respectively. CONCLUSION Overall, the temporal-spatial model had better outbreak detection performance, but the performance of two different models varies for infectious diseases with different incidence levels, and the adjustment and optimization of the temporal model and temporal-spatial model should be conducted according to specific infectious disease in CIDARS.