Key messages

  • Notification is vital for the prevention and control of communicable or infectious diseases.
  • The Chief Health Officer issues alerts and advisories on the impacts of communicable or infectious diseases.
  • Health services should ensure staff members are protected against communicable and infectious diseases.

The Department of Health & Human Services is committed to reducing the incidence and impact of communicable diseases within Victorian health services.

Health services, including laboratory services, have a legal responsibility to notify the department of certain communicable diseases.

Government strategies

Strategies for the notification, detection and control of infectious diseases in public hospitals include:

  • directives to notify the department of infectious diseases within Victoria
  • guidelines for the control of infectious diseases (in The blue book)
  • guidelines for the management and control of gastroenteritis outbreaks in aged care, special care, health care and residential care facilities
  • guidelines for dealing with respiratory illness in residential and age care facilities.

Health alerts and advisories

The Victorian Chief Health Officer regularly issues alerts and advisories about the potential impact of communicable or infectious diseases on the health and safety of all Victorians.

Healthcare worker immunisation

Healthcare workers are on the front line and can be exposed to, and transmit, vaccine-preventable diseases. Health services should take all reasonable steps to ensure that staff members are protected against influenza and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

Pandemic planning and response

Influenza pandemic occurs when a highly infectious new strain emerges for which humans have little or no immunity.

The Victorian Health Management Plan for Pandemic Influenza provides an effective health response framework to minimise transmissibility, morbidity and mortality associated with influenza pandemic and its impacts on the health sector and community.

The plan contains detailed operational appendices, which provide technical guidance for the health sector, including health services and primary care, and includes planning considerations for residential facilities, schools and education and care facilities, local government, laboratories and emergency services.

The administration of antivirals (as a treatment and prevention) and pandemic vaccination are taken into account. It also details infection prevention and control activities, isolation and quarantine, effective communication, surveillance and the management of the deceased.