Notification of a number of specified infectious diseases is required under the Public Health (Infectious Diseases) 1988 Act and the Public Health (Control of Diseases) 1984 Act. New (amended) regulations for clinical notifications came into force on 6 April 2010.
The proper officers are required every week to inform the Health Protection Agency (HPA) Centre for Infections (CfI) about details of each case of each disease that has been notified.
As well as notifications of the infectious diseases specified below, the 2010 regulations also require GPs to notify cases of "other infections or of contamination which they believe present, or could present, a significant risk to human health", e.g emerging or new infections, or cases of contamination (such as with chemicals or radiation) - particularly if there is a risk of transmission to others.
Diagnostic laboratories themselves also have a requirement to notify the HPA of specified causative agents they identify in tests on human samples.
The 2010 regulations also provide local authorities with wider and more flexible powers to deal with incidents which present, or could present, a significant risk to human health.
Notification requires the completion of the appropriate form, but notify urgent cases by phone as well (ASAP - certainly within 24 hours of any suspicions). Books of certificates are available, and there is also a template notification document on the HPA website.
Details required :
- Patient's name, date of birth, sex, and home address with postcode.
- Patient's NHS number.
- Ethnicity (used to monitor health equalities).
- Occupation, and/or place of work or educational establishment if relevant.
- Current residence (if it is not the home address).
- Contact telephone number.
- Contact details of a parent (for children).
- The disease or infection, or nature of poisoning/contamination being reported.
- Date of onset of symptoms and date of diagnosis.
- Any relevant overseas travel history.
- If in hospital, also:
- Hospital address.
- Day admitted.
- Whether the disease was contracted in hospital.
There is no longer a fee payable for notification.
- Acute encephalitis (not Scotland).
- Acute viral meningitis (not Scotland).
- Acute bacterial meningitis (urgent).
- Acute poliomyelitis (urgent).
- Acute infectious hepatitis (not Scotland, urgent).
- Anthrax (urgent).
- Botulism (urgent).
- Brucellosis (urgent if UK-acquired).
- Cholera (urgent).
- Diphtheria (urgent).
- Enteric fever (typhoid or paratyphoid) (urgent).
- Food poisoning (not Scotland, urgent - if clusters or outbreaks).
- Haemolytic uraemic syndrome (urgent).
- Infectious bloody diarrhoea (not Scotland unless E. coli O157, (urgent)).
- Invasive group A streptococcal disease (Scotland any necrotising fasciitis, urgent).
- Scarlet fever (not Scotland).
- Legionnaires' disease (not Scotland, urgent).
- Leprosy (not Scotland or N Ireland).
- Malaria (not Scotland, urgent if UK-acquired).
- Measles (urgent).
- Meningococcal septicaemia (urgent).
- Plague (urgent).
- Rabies (only urgent if seen at time of bite rather than with symptoms).
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) (urgent).
- Smallpox (urgent).
- Tetanus (urgent if IV drug user).
- Tuberculosis (urgent if health worker, case cluster or multiple drug resistance).
- Viral haemorrhagic fever (urgent).
- Whooping cough (urgent in acute phase).
- Yellow fever (urgent if UK-acquired).
Requirements differ slightly for Northern Ireland and Scotland. Scotland's list of notifiable diseases also specifically includes E. coli O157, Haemophilus influenzae type b, tularemia and West Nile fever.
Northern Ireland is broadly similar to England and Wales, but includes chickenpox and gastroenteritis (in persons under 2).
Some normally non-notifiable diseases may need notification if there are circumstances which put others at significant risk - e.g chickenpox in a healthcare worker who is in contact with immunosuppressed individuals, or a patient with parvovirus B19 who has been in contact with pregnant women. Another example would be suspected case(s) of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is considered good professional practice to report any suspected clusters of cases of normally non-notifiable diseases, etc. voluntarily to the proper officer at the local authority.
There are separate ways of notifying cases of:
- Healthcare-associated infections (eg needlestick) - other statutory systems are in in place.
- HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) presenting to GUM clinics (these clinics handle contact tracing and public health issues - but will need to report cases of acute infectious hepatitis, as nonsexual contacts may also be at risk).
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease - cases should be reported to the National CJD Surveillance Unit (NCJDSU).
Further reading & references
- Health Protection Legislation Guidance 2010, Dept of Health, published 25 March 2010
- Notifications of Infectious Diseases (NOIDs), Health Protection Agency
- Guidance on Part 2 - Notifiable Diseases, Notifiable Organisms and Health Risk States. Scotish Government (modified 2009)
- Notifications of Notifiable Diseases (NOIDs), Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre Northern Ireland
- Notification of Infectious Diseases (NOIDs), Health Protection Scotland
- The National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit (NCJDSU); Website, with reporting form
- Pillaye J, Clarke A; An evaluation of completeness of tuberculosis notification in the United Kingdom. BMC Public Health. 2003 Oct 6;3:31.
- Brabazon ED, O'farrell A, Murray CA, et al; Brabazon ED, O'farrell A, Murray CA, et al; Under-reporting of notifiable infectious disease hospitalizations in a health board region in Ireland: room for improvement? Epidemiol Infect. 2007 Mar 30;:1-7.
- Durrheim DN, Massey IP, Kelly H; Re-emerging poliomyelitis--is Australia's surveillance adequate? Commun Dis Intell. 2006;30(3):275-7.
|Original Author: Hilary Cole||Current Version: Hilary Cole|
|Last Checked: 20/04/2011||Document ID: 2524 Version: 26||© EMIS|
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