Communicable Disease Reporting System
An Explanation of Communicable Disease Reporting
Ultimately, to protect the public's health. Certain diseases are reportable by legal
Code of Regulations
, Title 17) health care providers are required to report 83
different diseases, and laboratories are required to report 18 of those 83 diseases.
Furthermore, state and local Health Departments are responsible for disease surveillance.
The primary objectives of disease surveillance are to determine the extent of disease
within the community, to evaluate transmission risk, and to intervene rapidly when
appropriate. For surveillance to be effective, the reporting of communicable diseases
must be timely.
Who is required to report a communicable disease?
Medical doctors, osteopaths, veterinarians, podiatrists, nurse practitioners, physician
assistants, nurses, nurse midwives, infection control practitioners, medical examiners,
coroners, dentists, and administrators of health facilities and clinics knowing of a
case or suspected case of a communicable disease are required to report it to the local
health department (California Code of Regulations
Title 17, Section 2500). In addition, anyone in charge of a public or private
school, kindergarten, boarding school, or preschool also is required to report these
diseases (CCR, Section 2508). Laboratories are required to report certain communicable diseases
(CCR, Section 2505).
Who else might report a communicable disease?
Pharmacists, Animal/Vector Control staff, Emergency Medical personnel, etc. Private
citizens are required to report suspected foodborne illnesses, even if they have not
sought medical attention or had a true diagnosis. Please call the Morbidity/CD
Surveillance Unit at (213) 240-7821.
Where do these reports go?
The reports remain confidential. The
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
shares much of its investigation
State Department of Health Services
and the State Health Department in turn reports certain diseases to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.
What are these reports used for?
Primarily for disease surveillance activities, as mentioned above. Disease prevention
activities depend heavily on disease surveillance. Health departments work to prevent
epidemics, for instance, which epidemiologists identify by comparing disease rates to
preexisting "baseline" rates (normal or expected rates) for that disease. Data from
these reports help epidemiologists establish these baselines for each disease. Another
purpose of surveillance is identification of new, or emerging, infections in the community.
How can a communicable disease be reported?
A communicable disease can be reported by phone, fax, or e-mail through the
Communicable Disease Reporting System (CDRS)
How can report forms be obtained?
All Other Diseases:
The "Confidential Morbidity Report
form may be downloaded/printed from here or requested from any local health center
registrar or from the Morbidity/CD Reporting Unit at (213) 240-7821.
* Delay or failure to report communicable disease has contributed to serious consequences
in the past and, since 1997, Is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $50
nor more than $1,000, or by imprisonment for a term of not more than 90 days, or by both.
Each day the violation is continued is a separate offense. The confidentiality of patient
information is always protected.
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