Notifying infectious diseases and blood lead within Victoria
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Health authorities depend on medical practitioners and laboratories for information on the incidence of infectious diseases. Notification is vital in efforts to prevent or control the spread of infection.
The Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 requires that prescribed conditions are notified to the Department of Health by persons in charge of pathology services (laboratories) and medical practitioners (doctors). See also related information.
This table provides options to send notification of infectious disease. See related notification information.
Group A - Conditions require immediate notification to the Department of Health by telephone upon initial diagnosis (presumptive or confirmed) with written notification to follow within five days.
Group B - Conditions require written notification only within five 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 five days of confirmation of diagnosis. A separate form is used for this purpose due to the need to have national uniformity in collection of data.
Notify all conditions using
- Fax: 1300 651 170 (local call cost)
- Post: Reply Paid 65937 Melbourne VIC 8060
- the table above, What you need to notify
NOTE: Group A conditions should also be notified by phone: 1300 651 160 (local call).
Standard notification forms apply for all group A, B and C conditions and contain the minimum mandatory information required. Using the standard form, you can notify securely online or download a form to complete and post or fax later.
Enhanced notification forms are available for specified diseases where indicated. These enhanced forms collect the same mandatory information as the standard form as well as additional optional epidemiological data about the case.
- If notifying online, please read the security and privacy notice on the first page of the online notification form
- Do not email notifications.
The Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 requires that prescribed notifiable conditions are notified to the Department of Health by persons in charge of pathology services (laboratories) and medical practitioners (doctors). The prescribed notifiable conditions are listed in Schedule 4 of the Public Health & Wellbeing Regulations 2009.The regulations state that doctors are required to notify the department of suspected and confirmed cases and laboratories are required to notify the department when a test indicates a person may have or has any notifiable condition.
The information collected from doctors and laboratories is used to detect outbreaks and prevent further cases, monitor disease epidemiology, and implement interventions like immunisation to protect public health.Timely notification from doctors often provides more comprehensive information - particularly on risk factors - and enables the department to identify sources of exposure and implement strategies to prevent further cases where appropriate. Laboratories provide important information such as confirmation of the diagnosis and sero/subtyping.
Having both doctors and laboratories notify provides an important safety net for the capture of crucial data on prescribed conditions affecting the Victorian community.
Around Australia and overseas, it has been recognised that laboratory notification of infectious diseases should be 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 an infectious disease listed above, see What you need to notify
- blood lead greater than 10μg/dL, whether or not the test was requested as part of routine biological monitoring as prescribed by the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007.
The notification should state
- the laboratory finding
- the family name and given name of the patient (except for Group C conditions)
- the age, sex and postcode of the patient and
- the name, address and telephone number of the doctor requesting the test.
In addition to the above, the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations require notification from laboratories of the following micro-organisms isolated or detected in food or water supplies:
- Campylobacter spp
- Cryptosporidium spp
- Salmonella spp
- Verotoxin producing Escherichia coli (VTEC)
- Vibrio spp
- Giardia cysts
- Listeria monocytogenes
- Cyclospora spp
- Hepatitis A
Immediate notification must be made by telephone followed by notice in writing within 5 days specifying the micro-organism isolated or detected, date of isolation or detection, source (food or water) and any batch identification (if appropriate).
- Important - Do not email notifications.
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 cirumstances 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.
To make notifying as simple as possible the department provides:
- Reply Paid envelopes (no stamps required)
- notification pads.
State and federal legislation aims to protect the privacy of an individual's health information. The documents above explain how relevant legislation applies to medical practitioners, and how the privacy of patient's health information is protected.
See also Privacy
For all enquiries