Reportable Diseases

Reportable diseases are illnesses considered to be of great public health importance. Local, state and national agencies (for example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) require that such diseases be reported when they are diagnosed by doctors or laboratories.

The process of reporting and investigating communicable diseases permits surveillance (that is, the collection of statistics on the frequency with which the disease occurs).  Through surveillance the Southwest Utah Public Health Department watches for trends in disease occurrence, identifies disease outbreaks, and prepares for possible future outbreaks.

Information for Health Care Providers

The 79 reportable diseases in the State of Utah can be found HERE

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department will attempt to find the source of many of these illnesses, such as food poisoning or amebiasis. In the case of sexually-transmitted diseases, the health department will attempt to locate sexual contacts to assure they are disease-free or are appropriately treated if they are already infected.

The information obtained by reporting allows the health department to make informed decisions concerning activities, the environment (such as food handling, water purification, insect control, animal control), STD (sexually-transmitted disease) tracking and immunization programs.

Please remember that the health care provider is bound by law to report these events to the health department. People with any of the diseases listed in the state’s reporting schedule should make every effort to cooperate with the communicable disease investigators. Cooperation may help locate the source of an infection or prevent an epidemic.



Outbreak Reporting

Outbreak means:

1. A foodborne disease outbreak, defined as two or more epidemiologically- related cases of illness following consumption of a common food source or one case of the following:

Botulism

Cholera

Mushroom poisoning

Trichinosis

Fish poisoning such as Ciguatera poisoning

Scombroid poisoning

Paralytic shellfish poisoning

Any other neurotoxic shellfish poisoning

2. Three or more cases of a disease or illness that are not a foodborne outbreak and that occur in individuals who are not living in the same household but who are epidemiologically linked.

3. An increase in the number of infections in a facility, such as a hospital, long-term care facility, assisted living facility, school, or child care center, over the baseline rate usually found in that facility.

4. A situation designated by the State Health Department as an outbreak or one case of:

Anthrax

Plague

Rabies (human)

Smallpox

Any of the single cases defined as a foodborne disease outbreak above.

An outbreak of a disease of known or unknown etiology that may be a danger to the public health should be reported to your local health department immediately.

Who should report?

The following persons and establishments shall report:

  1. Health care providers (physician, physician’s assistant, dentist, chiropractor, nurse practitioner, nurse, medical examiner, administrator of a hospital, clinic, nursing home, or any other licensed health care provider). Only physicians can report diagnosed cases of AIDS, and only laboratories can report evidence of HIV infection.
  2. Public, private or parochial school and child care facility personnel (teacher, principal, school nurse, superintendent, assistant superintendent or designees).
  3. Food establishments.
  4. Any individual having knowledge of an animal bite.

When to Report?

Reporting can be done immediately by telephone, fax or e-mail for outbreaks and diseases noted in the “immediate” section of the reportable disease list. Conditions listed in the bottom half of the disease list can be reported within 3 working days of diagnosis or suspected diagnosis.

Where to Report?

Contact our Epidemiologist & TB Control Nurse, Danielle Timothy (dtimothy@swuhealth.org), at 435-652-4068 (direct line) or 435-668-0342 (work cell).

Or contact our Surveillance Epidemiologist, Kassidy Peterson (kpeterson@swuhealth.org) at 435-668-4980.

How to Report?

Reporting by telephone, fax, or e-mail is acceptable.

Additional Information

The health department will call the reporting health care provider when additional patient information is needed to complete the investigation.   This may include clarification about the patient’s knowledge of their diagnosis.


HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act)

The HIPAA Privacy Act permits physicians, their office staff, and other covered entities to disclose protected health information to public health authorities without the patient’s written authorization for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease. This includes conducting public health surveillance, investigations, and/or interventions.

For more information about privacy rule and public health see:


HIV/AIDS: Reporting of AIDS, HIV Infection, and Related Tests

Any positive results of the following tests must be reported to the Southwest Utah Public Health Department (435-652-4068):

  • Presence of antibodies to HIV that are verified by a positive confirmatory test
  • Repeatedly reactive tests with indeterminate confirmatory tests
  • Presence of HIV antigen
  • Isolation of HIV
  • Demonstration of HIV pro-viral DNA
  • Demonstration of HIV specific nucleic acids
  • Any other test or condition indicative of HIV infection.
  • Presence of antibodies to HIV reactive on two or more tests

The results of the following tests must be reported to the Utah Department of Health or the Southwest Utah Public Health Department:

  • CD4+T-Lymphocyte tests
  • HIV viral load determination

For further information about these tests please see:


STD: Reporting of Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs) – not including HIV

Syphilis (all stages and congenital) must be reportable IMMEDIATELY by phone to the Utah Department of Health or the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, Communicable Disease and Emergency Preparedness Division at 435-652-4068:

The following STDs are reportable within 3 working days after identification to the Utah Department of Health or the Southwest Utah Public Health Department:

Chlamydia trachomatis

Gonorrhea (sexually transmitted and ophthalmai neonatorum)

Hepatitis B (cases and carriers)

Hepatitis C (acute and chronic infection)

Utah regulation requires reporting of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia by both laboratories and health care providers. The dual reporting system is intentional:  the clinical and demographic information that the health care providers collect is unavailable to laboratories.  Both are needed by the health department to investigate cases and monitor disease trends.

Preventing Congenital Syphilis

The Utah Department of Health and the Southwest Utah Public Health Department recommend that all pregnant women be tested for syphilis as part of their prenatal care. The protocol is to test at the first visit and then to test again in the third trimester at 28 weeks of gestation or as soon as possible thereafter.   In addition, women from high prevalence communities or who are at high risk for STDs should also be tested at the time of delivery. Any woman who delivers a stillborn infant after 20 weeks gestation should also be tested. See the Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines 2006 at CDC.gov

STD Services and Treatment Schedules

The CDC has recently published the new treatment guidelines. You can access them at: CDC.gov or order a hard copy of the information at this same site.

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department does not offer screening tests for STDs. See your healthcare provider or, if uninsured, contact Planned Parenthood (435-674-9933) and the Doctor’s Free Clinic (435-656-0022) in St. George.

The Health Department is responsible for follow up on all reportable STDs and contact tracing with referral to treatment for those contacts.