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Blue book - Guidelines for the control of infectious diseases

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The blue book: guidelines for the control of infectious diseases has been published by the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Unit Victorian Department of Health, to assist public health practitioners in the prevention and control of infectious diseases.

The Department of Health is committed to enhancing and protecting the health and well-being of all Victorians. Our challenge, together with public health practitioners, is to monitor, prevent and control current and emerging communicable diseases within the Victorian community through the implementation fo targeted public health strategies based on surveillance and risk assessment in a partnership approach.


These guidelines have been developed by the Communicable Diseases Section, Public Health Group. The Blue Book – Guidelines for the control of infectious diseases first edition (1996) was used as the basis for this update.
We would like to acknowledge and thank those who contributed to the development of the original guidelines including various past and present staff of the Communicable Diseases Section.

We would also like to acknowledge and thank the following contributors for their assistance:

  • A/Prof Heath Kelly, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory
  • Dr Noel Bennett, content editor
  • Dr Sally Murray, content editor
  • Ms Kerry Ann O’Grady, content editor

The Blue Book in part refers to the previous Health Act 1958 and subodinate regulation. This Act has been replaced by the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 and the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009 which came into effect on 1 January 2010. The Victorian statutory requirements for notifying infectious diseases and exclusion from schools and children’s service centres have changed to reflect the new Act and Regulations. Check the requirements for notifications and for exclusion from schools and children’s service centres. The Blue Book is currently under review.

These guidelines have been prepared following consultation with experts in the field of infectious diseases and are based on information available at the time of their preparation. Practitioners should have regard to any information on these matters which may become available subsequent to the preparation of these guidelines.

As treatments change over time health care workers should consult the current version of Therapeutic guidelines: antibiotic (Therapeutic Guidelines Limited) for up to date information. The blue book is not intended to replace appropriate referral or the need to seek further professional advice.

Information for each disease in this edition covers:

  • Victorian statutory requirement for notification and exclusion
  • infectious agent(s)
  • identification
  • incubation period
  • public health significance and occurrence
  • reservoir
  • mode of transmission
  • period of communicability
  • susceptibility and resistance
  • control measures for patients and contacts
  • outbreak measures
  • international measures if applicable
  • sources of further information if applicable

Abbreviations used
See the abbreviations table at the bottom of this page

Download document

  The blue book


The following sources were used in the preparation of the guidelines:

  • Therapeutic Guidelines Limited 2003, Therapeutic guidelines – antibiotic, version 12.
  • Heymann D, 2004 Control of communicable diseases manual, 18th edn, American Public Health Association (the 17th edition, Chin J ed. 2000, was used in compiling The blue book).

Other sources

Further information

Together with the references above, the following resources provide further information.

Abbreviations used

Abbreviation Definition
ADT adult diphtheria tetanus vaccine
ALT alanine aminotransferase
anti HBs hepatitis B surface antibody
anti-HBc hepatitis B core antibody
CF/CFT complement fixation test
CNS central nervous system
CSF cerebro-spinal fluid
CT Scan computerised tomography
DTP diphtheria tetanus pertussis vaccine
DTPa diphtheria tetanus acellular pertussis vaccine
dTpa adult/adolescent formulation diphtheria tetanus acellular pertussis vaccine
EBV Epstein-Barr virus
EEG electroencephalogram
EIA enzyme immunoassay
ELISA enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
EM electron microscopy
FA direct fluorescent or immunofluorescent antibody test
HAV hepatitis A virus
HbeAg hepatitis B e antigen
HBIG hepatitis B immune globulin
HbsAg hepatitis B surface antigen
HBV hepatitis B virus
HCV hepatitis C virus
HDV hepatitis D virus
Hib haemophilus influenzae type b
HIV human immunodeficiency virus
IG immune globulin
IHA indirect haemagglutination
IM intramuscular
IV intravenous
MDU microbiological diagnostic unit
MIF micro immunofluorescent test
MMR measles-mumps-rubella vaccine
MRI magnetic resonance imaging
NHMRC national health and medical research council
PCR polymerase chain reaction
VIDRL Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory



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