Notify now

To report a case of anaphylaxis where the suspected cause is the consumption of packaged food, please phone the Department of Health and Human Services immediately on 1300 651 160 (24/7).

Anaphylaxis caused by packaged food – phone 1300 651 160 (24/7)

For all other cases of anaphylaxis where the suspected cause is NOT the consumption of packaged food, please report by completing the online notification form within 5 days of the initial diagnosis.

Anaphylaxis NOT caused by packaged food – complete online form

The online notification form is hosted by the Commonwealth Government's Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. The online form allows you to save partially completed forms for later submission. The information you provide in these forms is protected and only visible by authorised staff within the department. 

Other reporting systems

Health services should also report anaphylaxis presentations to drugs and medicines to the Commonwealth Therapeutic Goods Administration through its adverse events online reporting form.

Anaphylaxis presentations as a result of a vaccine should also be reported to the Surveillance of Adverse Events Following Immunisation In the Community (SAEFVIC) public health partnership, who are a member of the Adverse Events Following Immunisation - Clinical Assessment Network (AEFI-CAN). Such reactions should be reported online at the AEFI-CAN website.

Background

From 1 November 2018, Victorian public and private hospitals will be required to notify the Department of Health and Human Services of anaphylaxis presentations under an amendment to the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.

Anaphylaxis presentations must be notified in accordance with the prescribed requirements of the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations. 

The amendment to the Act requires an anaphylaxis reporting body (defined below), to notify the department 'if a registered medical practitioner employed at, or otherwise engaged by, the anaphylaxis reporting body has reasonable grounds to believe that a person presenting for treatment at the anaphylaxis reporting body has anaphylaxis'.

The amendment also requires the ‘person in charge’ of the hospital to ensure that processes are implemented to ensure that the hospital complies with the notification requirements.

An ‘anaphylaxis reporting body’ is defined as a public hospital, a denominational hospital, a private hospital, a multi-purpose service or a privately-operated hospital within the meaning of the Health Services Act 1988.

Under the Regulations, hospitals will be required to notify the department of anaphylaxis presentations within five days of initial diagnosis, electronically through the department’s online form, unless the suspected cause of anaphylaxis is the consumption of a packaged food. In this case, notification is required immediately by telephone.

Guide for hospitals

A guide to assist Victorian public and private hospitals to understand and act on their statutory obligations has been prepared by the department, and has been emailed to all public and private hospital Chief Executives. The guidance document is provided here: Anaphylaxis notifications guidance.

This document replaces the previous Frequently Asked Questions page on this website, and is supplemented by further questions.

A summary of the notification requirements has also been created in a simple poster format, to enable hospitals to print and place this in appropriate locations within their facilities.

Who should notify?

The Act does not specify who at a hospital should make anaphylaxis notifications.  Hospitals should consider existing processes and decide which staff members are most suited to provide the required information to the department.

The more complete the information, the more assistance this will be to the department in following up notifications, particularly those in relation to packaged food.

We would therefore recommend that where possible, the registered practitioner who made the diagnosis is the notifier, especially for telephone notifications linked to the consumption of packaged food.

Why are anaphylaxis notifications from hospitals being required?

The legislative amendments were introduced by the Minister for Health, the Hon Jill Hennessy MP, in response to a Victorian Coronial report regarding the tragic death of a 10-year-old Victorian boy in 2013. The boy was allergic (anaphylactic) to milk (dairy) products, and drank a can of imported coconut drink which failed to declare the presence of milk as an ingredient on its label, in breach of Australian food labelling law.

Without adequate warning of the contents of the drink, the boy’s parents unwittingly gave the drink to their son, who, shortly after consuming it, suffered an anaphylactic reaction that ultimately claimed his life.

At the time, the responding hospital was not required to and did not notify the department of the suspicions that this beverage was the suspected cause of the boy’s anaphylactic reaction. As a result the product remained in the marketplace for six weeks before being recalled from the shelves, putting other milk-allergic consumers at risk.

Purpose of notifying anaphylaxis presentations

The primary purpose of the anaphylaxis notifications scheme is to allow the department to take swift action where a notification reveals a broader public health risk, such as the one described above.

Such action may include the oversight of a food company recalling an offending food product from the marketplace to protect public health

In addition, data collected will also enable the department to better understand the burden of anaphylaxis in Victoria and to inform public health policy, interventions and research. 

Further information

If you have questions or would like to speak to someone in the department regarding anaphylaxis notifications, please send an email to anaphylaxis@dhhs.vic.gov.au and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

The 1 November 2018 legislative amendments to the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 can be accessed at: Health and Child Wellbeing Legislation Amendment Act 2018 (section 18); and to the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations.

The Coronial Findings which led to the legislative amendments can be found on the Victorian Coroner’s website at: Coroners Court of Victoria – Finding Without Inquest into the Death of Ronak Satyajit Warty.