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 Public Health
Note: We are the public health unit for the greater Wellington region (Wairarapa, Hutt Valley and Capital, and Coast). For contact details of other public health units in New Zealand, please visit the Ministry of Health website.
- 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 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
STI notification is DIFFERENT to other notifiable diseases and there is a separate process for each STI.
These diseases must also be notified anonymously which means that identifiable information such as name, address, phone number must not be included in the notification
All of the forms and web-links are available via HealthPathways or at www.surv.esr.cri.nz/public_health_surveillance/sti_surveillance.php
Diagnosing clinicians fulfil their legal notification responsibility by using the processes below:
- Gonorrhoea notifications are directly entered on a secure web based questionnaire via this webpage
- Syphilis notification (for primary and secondary care) is a paper questionnaire. Fax or post the completed questionnaire to ESR (address details are on the questionnaire)
- HIV notification - a web based questionnaire link will be sent to the diagnosing clinician following a positive laboratory result
- AIDS notification has 2 steps:
- Complete the notification form and fax (04 570 9373) or post to (The Notifications Officer, Public Health, Private Bag 31-907 Lower Hutt 5010) AND
- Complete a secure web based questionnaire; the link will be sent to the diagnosing clinician
See Notification Process for STIs for further details.
For lead absorption and hazardous substance injury notifications