The statutory notification of infectious diseases has been a crucial health protection measure in the United Kingdom (U.K.) since the late 19th century. The purpose of notification is to enable the prompt investigation, risk assessment and response to cases of infectious disease and contamination (such as with chemicals or radiation) that present, or could present, a significant risk to human health1. This module explains the guidance on notification requirements of registered medical practitioners (RMPs).

RMPs have a statutory duty to notify the proper officer at their local health protection team (HPT) of suspected cases of certain infectious diseases under the Health Protection (Notification) Regulations 2010. The list of which can be found on the government website. Emergency Departments (EDs) are an important reporting source for notifiable diseases, so it is vital to improve awareness on reporting responsibilities among Emergency Medicine (EM) clinicians and make the reporting process clear. This module aims to put the notification process in context of the wider public health implications and hopes to improve awareness and reporting practices among EM clinicians.

Table 1 Diseases notifiable to local authority proper officers under the Health Protection Regulations 2010

DISEASEWhether likely to be routine or urgent
Acute encephalitisRoutine
Acute meningitisUrgent if suspected bacterial infection, otherwise routine
Acute poliomyelitisUrgent
Acute infectious hepatitis (A,B, C)Urgent
BrucellosisRoutine, urgent if UK acquired
Enteric fever (typhoid, parathyphoid)Urgent
Food poisoningRoutine, urgent if cluster or part or outbreak
Haemolytic Uraemic SyndromeUrgent
Infectious bloody diarrhoeaUrgent
Invasive group A streptococcal diseaseUrgent
Scarlett feverRoutine
Legionnaires’ diseaseUrgent
MalariaRoutine, urgent if UK acquired
Meningococcal septicaemiaUrgent
TetanusRoutine, urgent if associated with injecting drugs
TuberculosisRoutine, urgent if healthcare worker, suspected cluster or multi drug resistant
Viral haemorrhagic feverUrgent
Whooping coughUrgent if diagnose din acute phase, routine if diagnosed later
Yellow feverUrgent if UK acquired

Report other diseases that may present significant risk to human health under the category ‘other significant disease’ examples of these are:

  1. Chemical exposure e.g. Carbon monoxide, lead, mercury
  2. Radiation exposure
  3. New and emerging infections (e.g. new strains of influenza)
  4. Cases that occur as part of an outbreak/ cluster e.g. (clostridium difficile, norovirus)
  5. Other infections where vulnerable contacts are at risk: e.g. infection in a healthcare worker, varicella zoster exposure in pregnant or immunocompromised persons

Learning bite

This list is not exhaustive. If in doubt, please telephone your local HPT.

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