Speed of notification

Notification must be timely if public health interventions are to be effective in controlling the further spread of infection or contamination. Notification has the secondary benefit of providing data for use in the epidemiological surveillance of infection and contamination. These data can help, for example, in monitoring the effect of existing interventions (e.g. immunisation), identifying the need for new interventions (e.g. outreach services for specific groups) and informing the planning of healthcare services.

Complete the notification form to inform your local health protection team immediately about suspected notifiable disease cases.

Do not wait for laboratory confirmation of the suspected infection or contamination before notification. Send the certificate to the proper officer within 3 days, or phone them within 24 hours, if the case is urgent.

Speed of notification is particularly essential for diseases such as meningococcal infection, food poisoning, and hepatitis where contact tracing is required to limit the spread.

Learning bite

The reporting of notifiable diseases can be improved by ensuring that all medical practitioners:

  • Are aware of their legal obligations
  • Understand the rationale and the purpose of notification
  • Ensure that infectious diseases from hospitals and general practice are reported to the proper authorities at the earliest opportunity

TIP: Notification forms should be prominently displayed in ED or on the hospitals Intranet to encourage notification, you can also download and customise this poster to be displayed in your ED.

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