Notifiable diseases guide for pathology laboratories

Notifiable diseases guide for pathology laboratories

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A Guide for Laboratories

Laboratory notifiable diseases

Public health legislation in Tasmania changed after Parliament passed the Public Health (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2015.

The HIV/AIDS Preventive Measures Act 1993 (HIV Act) no longer exists, consequential changes occurred to the Corrections Act 1997, and parts of the Public Health Act 1997 have changed.

Consequently revised Guidelines for Notifying Diseases and Food Contaminants became effective from 18 January 2016.

The Public Health Act requires that certain medical conditions be notified to the Director-of Public Health (DPH). This includes diseases and conditions which should be notified to the Communicable Disease Prevention Unit (CDPU) by laboratories.

Laboratories are required to notify a positive result for the specified infectious diseases and medical conditions. Notification allows for public health action to manage these conditions and to control the spread of diseases.

The changes to Guidelines for Notifying Diseases and Food Contaminants that specifically affect laboratories include:

  • the addition of new diseases to be notified by laboratories
    • Carbapenemase producing Enterobacteriaceae
    • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
  • the de-listing of
    • Giardia
    • Chancroid
  • a change to the threshold level for blood lead.

The current list of laboratory notifiable diseases can be found at the Public Health Services website

The Guidelines for Notifying Diseases and Food Contaminants have added some requirements for the reports that are issued for notifiable diseases.

These include clearer specifications around the content of information detailed on the notification report and are in addition to what has previously been required. Notification reports are to:

  • Provide the contact information for the medical practitioner who requested the initial test.
  • Provide the contact information for the medical practitioner who requested the initial test.
  • Contain additional information in relation to the laboratory who conducted the test, if this has not been previously notified to the DPH.
  • Contain more specific details in relation to the disease report
    • authorisation date of the laboratory report
    • the date the specimen was collected
    • the method of diagnosis.

There has also been a change in the acceptable notification timeframes for Chlamydia trachomatis notifications which factors in potential batching of notification results for this particular disease at a point in the future.

The Guidelines for Notifying Diseases and Food Contaminants can be found on the Public Health Services website

The repeal of The HIV/AIDS Preventive Measures Act 1993 (HIV Act)) means that the separate confidentiality framework around the collection, recording, storing and security of information in respect of HIV tests and related medical assessments is no longer required.

HIV information is to be treated with the same degree of security and confidentiality as all other health information relating to a person.

February 2016