The Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 requires that prescribed conditions are notified to the department by persons in charge of pathology services (laboratories), and medical practitioners (doctors). The law exists to monitor and control the occurrence of infectious diseases and other specified conditions, and helps to prevent further illness.
Notifiable conditions are included in Schedule 4 of the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009 and are divided into four groups on the basis of the method of notification and the information required.
Group A: Conditions require immediate notification to the department by telephone – 1300 651 160 – upon initial diagnosis (presumptive or confirmed), with written notification to follow within 5 days.
Group B: Conditions require written notification only within 5 days of diagnosis (presumptive or confirmed).
Group C: Conditions include the sexually transmissible diseases and should be notified using the same form. To preclude identification of the patient, only the first two letters of the given and family name of the patient are required.
Group D: Conditions include HIV infection (human immunodeficiency virus) and AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), and written notification is required within 5 days of confirmation of diagnosis.
The table on the 'Notifiable infections’ page lists all the notifiable conditions in their relevant group.
The standard notification form is applicable for all conditions and contains the minimum mandatory information required. Using the standard method, you can notify securely online or download a form to complete and post/fax later.
The enhanced notification forms are available for specified diseases, where indicated. These enhanced forms collect the same mandatory information as the standard form (above), plus additional epidemiological data about the case.
Around Australia and overseas, it has been recognised that laboratory notification is an integral part of any disease surveillance system.
Laboratories are required to notify tests, indicating:
- the probable presence of a human pathogenic organism associated with a scheduled infectious disease or condition; see 'Notify now' for the full list of conditions
- blood lead greater than 10 μg/dL, whether or not the test was requested as part of routine biological monitoring as prescribed by the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007.
In addition to the above, the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations require notification from laboratories of the following microorganisms isolated or detected in food or water supplies:
- verotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC)
- hepatitis A
Immediate notification must be made by telephone, followed by notice in writing within 5 days specifying the microorganism isolated or detected, date of isolation or detection, source (food or water) and any batch identification (if appropriate).
Important – do not Email notifications.
What information you need to notify
Notifications in people
The department conducts surveillance on infectious diseases to pinpoint outbreaks, to prevent the spread of infection and prevent further exposure.
For certain conditions, public health officers conduct further investigations. This may involve contacting the patient to obtain more detailed information.
In most circumstances, department staff will not contact the patient without seeking the consent of the notifying doctor.
The department publishes annual, quarterly and daily surveillance reports online and in hard copy. See ‘Infectious diseases – surveillance reports and data’.