Health practitioners are required by Section 74 of the Health Act 1956 to report to the medical officer of health any patient they have 'reasonable suspicion' is suffering from a notifiable disease. Notification allows for appropriate public health control measures to be taken to reduce the risk of further spread, for disease surveillance and for monitoring of the effectiveness of control measures.
Medical practitioners are also required to report to the local medical officer of health any patient suffering from poisoning or an injury from hazardous substances (Section 143 Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996) or from chemical contamination of the environment (Health Act 1956) e.g. pesticide poisoning. For information about Hazardous Substances Surveillance visit the Environmental Health Indicators New Zealand website.
Notifying Regional Public Health
- Check if the disease requires urgent or non-urgent notification.
- Notify these diseases on clinical suspicion, before lab confirmation:
- Neisseria meningitidis invasive disease (meningococcal disease)
- Pertussis (whooping cough) in a health care worker or household with baby aged < 12 months
- Rheumatic fever
- Infectious pulmonary tuberculosis
- Acute gastroenteritis or food poisoning if:
- two or more cases linked to a common source, or
- patient at high risk of infecting others (e.g. food handler, health or childcare worker),
- single case of chemical, bacterial, or toxin food poisoning such as toxic shellfish poisoning or scombroid poisoning
- Outbreak (two or more cases of any condition linked to a common source)
- Any emerging public health problem if you are concerned about it.
- Check exclusion and clearance criteria for infectious periods and recommended period of exclusion from work, school or preschool.
For urgent disease notifications:
- During working hours, phone Regional Public Health on (04) 570-9267.
- After hours phone the on-call medical officer of health on (04) 570 9007.
- Make sure you have relevant case details available when calling:
- Patient’s occupation
- Place of work, school, or preschool
- Date of illness onset
- Recent countries visited and date of arrival in New Zealand
- Whether the patient has been informed that they have a notifiable disease
- Vaccination status (if relevant)
- Suspected source of infection (e.g. functions attended).
For non-urgent disease notifications:
For sexually transmitted infection (STI) disease notifications
- Syphilis, gonorrhoea, HIV, and AIDS are the only notifiable STIs
- These diseases must be notified anonymously which means that identifiable information such as name, address, phone number must not be included in the notification
- ESR has established an interim national notification system for STIs. The notification process differs for each STI. See Notification Process for STIs for details on the process to follow for each disease.
For lead absorption and hazardous substance injury notifications: