Australia's notifiable diseases status, 1997: Annual report of the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System - Quarantinable diseases

The Australia’s notifiable diseases status, 1997 report provides data and an analysis of communicable disease incidence in Australia during 1997. The full report is available in 11 HTML documents. This document contains the quarantinable diseases section. The full report is also available in PDF format. Published in Communicable Diseases Intelligence Volume 23 Number 1, 21 January 1999

Page last updated: 22 February 1999

Quarantinable diseases

In Australia, the diseases which are currently considered to be of human quarantine importance are cholera, plague, rabies, yellow fever and a group of viral haemorrhagic fevers (VHFs). The VHFs include disease due to Ebola, Marburg, Lassa fever, and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever viruses. Cholera, plague and yellow fever are defined as quarantinable in the current World Health Organization (WHO) International Health Regulations (IHRs).20 Although not a signatory to the IHRs, Australia complies with the WHO requirements for reporting these diseases. The VHFs were not recognised at the time that the current IHRs were developed, but are considered to be quarantinable in many countries, and generally reported to the WHO. Rabies is a disease of both human and animal quarantine importance in Australia, which has status with WHO as a rabies-free country.

The diseases are notified to the NNDSS by all States and Territories except for rabies which is not notifiable in New South Wales. However, all cases of quarantinable diseases are formally notified to the National Centre for Disease Control by all States and Territories as they occur, regardless of whether they are notified to the NNDSS.


Three reports of cholera were received in 1997, two from New South Wales and one from Victoria. All cases were acquired overseas (from India and the Philippines).

Plague, rabies, yellow fever and other viral haemorrhagic fevers

There were no cases of these diseases notified in 1997.


Cases of cholera in Australia usually occur in individuals who have been infected whilst travelling overseas, often in Asia. Travellers are advised to take appropriate precautions when travelling to endemic areas.21

The WHO is drafting new International Health Regulations, which are expected to be released in the near future for comment. In Australia, a review of the human quarantine aspects of the Quarantine Act 1908 is underway. Changes to the list of quarantinable diseases may result from these processes.

This article {extract} was published in Communicable Diseases Intelligence Vol 23 Number , 21 January 1999 and may be downloaded as a full version PDF from the Table of contents page. Volume 23 1999.

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