Notification of Infectious Diseases
- Travelling overseas to visit friends and relatives
- Notification of diseases
- How to Notify
- Diseases to be notified
- Legal framework
- Historical background
Anyone planning on travelling overseas should seek health advice from their GP 6-8 weeks before they travel. This is to help minimise children and their parents acquiring infections abroad and becoming unwell on return to the UK. Where vaccinations are required, most are provided free by the NHS.
Further information regarding travel health can be found here:
- National Travel Health Network and Centre (external link)
- Gov UK - travelling overseas (external link)
Doctors in England and Wales have a statutory duty to notify a 'Proper Officer' of the Local Authority of suspected cases of certain infectious diseases and non-infectious health hazards. The prime purpose of the notifications system is timely response to cases, clusters and epidemics of infectious diseases and incidents on non-infectious health hazard, in order to prevent further transmission or spread of disease.
The attending Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) should fill out a notification certificate on diagnosis of a suspected notifiable disease and should not wait for laboratory confirmation of the suspected infection or contamination before notification. The certificate should be sent to the Proper Officer within three days and, if the case is considered to be urgent, it should also be reported verbally within 24 hours.
The London Borough of Haringey have appointed Consultants in Health Protection employed by North East and North Central London Health Protection Unit as our proper officer. Therefore registered medical practitioners should send all notifications to North East and North Central London Health Protection Unit.
A paper copy of Notification Form (Word 70KB) should be sent to:
PHE London- North East and North
Central London Health Protection Team
Ground Floor, South Wing
2-6 Salisbury Square
should be reported by telephone to:
- 020 3837 7084 - Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
- 07623 541 417 - Out of Hours
Visit the Public Health England (external link) for a list of notifiable diseases, with explanatory notes and guidance on the need for urgent notification can be found in the guidance. This table is only for guidance and each case should be considered individually.
Please note that doctors are also required to notify suspected cases of other infections ("other relevant infection") or contamination ("relevant contamination") that present, or could present, significant harm to human health (see sections 3.2 and 3.3 of the Guidance PDF 2.4MB).
In December 2015 the World Heath Organisation (WHO) declared that human-to-human transmission of Ebola virus in all 3 of the worst-affected countries has ended. The risk to Haringey residents from the Ebola Virus remains very low.
Further information on the risk of Ebola in the UK can be found on the Public Health England website (external link)
Health protection legislation in England has been updated to give public authorities new powers and duties to prevent and control risks to human health from infection or contamination, including by chemicals and radiation. The revised measures are contained within the amended Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 and its accompanying Regulations. The new Regulations for clinical notifications came into force on 6 April 2010, and those relating to laboratory notifications start on 1 October. The new legislation adopts an all hazards approach, and, in addition to the specified list of infectious diseases, there is a requirement to notify cases of other infections or contamination which could present a significant risk to human health.
Under the new Notification Regulations, there are no provisions for Registered Medical Practitioners (RMPs) to be paid fees for notifications. RMPs are expected to provide information that is a requirement of legislation needed to protect public health as part of their professional duties.
The statutory requirement for the notification of certain infectious diseases came into being towards the end of the 19th century.
Diseases such as cholera, diphtheria, smallpox, and typhoid had to be reported in London from 1891, and in the rest of England and Wales from 1899. The list of diseases has been increased over the decades and now stands at about 30. Originally the head of the family or landlord had the responsibility of reporting the disease to the local 'Proper Officer' but now this is restricted to the attending medical practitioner, either in the patient's home or at a surgery or hospital or other venues.
Since 1968 clinical suspicion of a notifiable infection is sufficient for notifying a case, and laboratory confirmation is not necessary. This is to enable the proper officer to take action in a timely manner to prevent further spread of the suspected disease.
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