Editorial: Notifiable diseases, Australia, 2004

This report published in Communicable Diseases Intelligence Volume 28 No 4, March 2004 contains the list of nationally notifiable diseases for reporting to the Commonwealth.

Page last updated: 04 March 2004

CDNA Surveillance Case Definitions Working Group

National list | Implementation | State and Territories list | Acknowledgements

Revised case definitions for nationally notifiable diseases

A working group of CDNA was convened in 2001 to revise or develop standard case definitions for all nationally notifiable diseases for reporting to the Commonwealth. The new case definitions will be implemented nationally from January 2004. The Surveillance Case Definitions have been developed through a consensus approach in a series of teleconferences undertaken progressively over the last two years. The Working Group comprised members representing all State and Territory jurisdictions, the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, the Public Health Laboratory Network (PHLN), OzFoodNet, the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research (NCHECR), and the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance. Laboratory definitions previously developed by the PHLN formed the basis for the Surveillance Case Definitions, with clinical and epidemiologic elements added, as appropriate.

In the revised Surveillance Case Definitions, clinical, laboratory and epidemiological evidence is specified separately for each definition, where relevant, to provide a consistent format. A number of diseases are now notified as either 'confirmed' or 'probable' according to the certainty of the diagnosis. Descriptions for both confirmed and probable cases are provided within relevant case definitions.

In November 2002, CDNA decided to add a further two new diseases to the national list: tularemia, and smallpox. There are now 64 diseases or syndromes that are nationally notifiable. The disease code for each disease or syndrome reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) is provided in the Table 1. During the process of formulating case definitions the names of some listed diseases or syndromes were modified, to more accurately reflect cases collected in the category.

The disease list includes HIV and AIDS, which are not reported via NNDSS, but are sent directly to NCHECR from state and territory health departments.

In the new list, syphilis (formerly disease code 032) has been segregated into two new categories. Two new disease codes have been assigned:

  • 'Syphilis -infectious (primary, secondary and early latent), less than 2 years duration' (code 066) and;
  • 'Syphilis -more than 2 years or unknown duration' (code 067).

Cases of HIV reported to the NCHECR are categorised as either:
  • HIV -newly acquired;
  • HIV -unspecified -individuals 18 months of age or older; or
  • HIV -unspecified -children less than 18 months of age

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Table 1. List of nationally notifiable diseases, Australia, 2004

Number Disease/syndrome name Disease code
1 Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) Sent to NCHECR
2 Anthrax 058
3 Ross River virus 002
4 Barmah Forest virus 048
5 Dengue 003
6 Japanese encephalitis 059
7 Kunjin virus 060
8 Murray Valley encephalitis 049
9 Flavivirus infection —unspecified or not otherwise classified 001
10 Botulism 045
11 Brucellosis 004
12 Campylobacteriosis 005
13 Chlamydia 007
14 Cholera 008
15 Cryptosporidiosis 061
16 Diphtheria 009
17 Donovanosis 010
18 Gonococcal infection 011
19 Haemolytic uraemic syndrome 055
20 Haemophilus Influenzae serotype B (Hib) infection (invasive) 012
21 Viral haemorrhagic fevers 036
22 Hepatitis A 038
23 Hepatitis B —newly acquired 039
24 Hepatitis B —unspecified 052
25 Hepatitis C —newly acquired 040
26 Hepatitis C —unspecified 053
27 Hepatitis D 050
28 Hepatitis E 051
29 Viral hepatitis (not otherwise specified) 037
30 HIV —newly acquired Sent to NCHECR
31 HIV —unspecified —individuals 18 months of age or older Sent to NCHECR
32 HIV —unspecified —children less than 18 months of age Sent to NCHECR
33 Influenza —laboratory-confirmed 062
34 Legionellosis 015
35 Leprosy (Hansen's disease) 016
36 Leptospirosis 017
37 Listeriosis 018
38 Lyssavirus —Australian bat lyssavirus (ABL) 063
39 Lyssavirus —rabies 028
40 Lyssavirus —unspecified 064
41 Malaria 020
42 Measles 021
43 Invasive meningococcal disease 022
44 Mumps 043
45 Psittacosis (ornithosis) 023
46 Pertussis 024
47 Plague 025
48 Poliomyelitis (wild type and vaccine associated) 026
49 Pneumococcal disease (invasive) 065
50 Q fever 027
51 Rubella 029
52 Congenital rubella syndrome 046
53 Salmonellosis 030
54 Shigellosis 031
55 Shiga-toxin producing E. coli —VTEC/STEC 054
56 Syphilis —infectious (primary, secondary and early latent), less than 2 years duration 066
57 Syphilis —more than 2 years or unknown duration 067
58 Congenital syphilis 047
59 Tetanus 033
60 Tuberculosis 034
61 Typhoid 035
62 Yellow fever 041
64 Smallpox 069
65 Tularemia 070

* Reported to NNDSS via ANCJDR, or State or Territory health departments

† Probable and confirmed cases defined

Disease codes in bold indicate a new code number

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While acknowledging that public health legislation in individual jurisdictions may have to be revised to cover the collection of the new diseases added to the list, the new case definitions will be implemented for all diseases from 1 January 2004, for reporting to the Commonwealth. Details of the interim case definitions are available from the Communicable Diseases Australia website: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/Case+definitions-1.

Other notifiable conditions

In addition to the diseases that are reported to NNDSS at the Department of Health and Ageing, each jurisdiction may have other diseases/syndromes/conditions that are required by public health legislation to be notified to the state or territory health department. Diseases, syndromes and conditions that are notifiable in each state or territory, in addition to the national list, are listed in Table 2.

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Table 2. Additional conditions required to be notified in each State or Territory

Australian Capital Territory
Equine morbillivirus (Hendra virus) infection
Lymphogranuloma venereum
New South Wales
Adverse event following immunisation
Foodborne illness in 2 or more related cases
Gastroenteritis among people of any age, in an institution (e.g. among persons in educational or residential institutions)
Lymphogranuloma venereum
Typhus (epidemic)
Northern Territory
Acute post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis
Acute rheumatic fever
Adverse event following immunisation
Atypical mycobacterial disease or non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM)
Chlamydial conjunctivitis
Echinococcosis (hydatid disease)
Gastroenteritis (with potential for outbreak): water or foodborne diseases in:
two or more related cases
in an institution
in a foodhandler
Human T-cell lymphotropic virus
Lymphogranuloma venereum
Rotavirus infection
Thrombotic thrombocytopaenia purpura
Typhus (all forms)
Vibrio food poisoning
Acute flaccid paralysis
Acute rheumatic fever
Adverse event following immunisation
Atypical mycobacterial disease
Bunyavirus infections (not included in arbovirus NEC)
Ciguatera poisoning
Echinococcosis (hydatid disease)
Elevated lead levels
Equine morbillivirus (Hendra virus) infection
Foodborne or waterborne disease in 2 or more related cases
Hendra virus infection
Lymphogranuloma venereum
South Australia (Available at http://www.dhs.sa.gov.au/pehs/topics/topic-notifiable-diseases.htm)
Atypical mycobacterial disease
Echinococcosis (hydatid disease)
Varicella-zoster infection (chickenpox and shingles)
Tasmania (Available at http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/publichealth/communicablediseases/)
Echinococcosis (hydatid disease)
Elevated lead levels
Gastroenteritis in an institution i.e. residential, educational or child care facility
Lymphogranuloma venereum
Mycobacterial infection (including atypical Mycobacterium spp.)
Rickettsial infection (including Flinders Island spotted fever and others)
Suspected cases of food and waterborne illnesses
Typhus epidemic (Rickettsia prowazekii)
Vancomycin resistant enterococci
Vibrio infection
Food and waterborne illness in two or more related cases
Western Australia
Adverse events following immunisation
Amoebic meningitis
Echinococcosis (hydatid disease)
Methicillin-resistant Staphyloccocus aureus infection
Paratyphoid fever
Relapsing fever
Scarlet fever
Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia)
Typhus (Rickettsial infection)
Vibrio parahaemolyticus

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The revision of the case definitions commenced in early 2001. The Surveillance Case Definitions working group was chaired by Robert Hall until August 2002, after which Gary Dowse took the lead. During this time contributors included:

Charles Guest, Louise Carter (Australian Capital Territory);
Jeremy McAnulty, Valerie Delpech, Kerry Todd (New South Wales);
Vicki Krause, Peter Markey (Northern Territory);
Linda Selvey, Robyn Pugh (Queensland);
Rob Hall, Rod Givney (South Australia):
Avner Misrachi, David Coleman (Tasmania);
Graham Tallis, Kerry Ann O'Grady, Sean Tobin (Victoria);
Gary Dowse (Western Australia);
Martyn Kirk (OzFoodNet);
John Kaldor, Anne McDonald (National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research);
Heather Gidding (National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance);
David Smith, Dominic Dwyer, Mike Catton (Public Health Laboratory Network); and
Moira McKinnon, Jenean Spencer (Department of Health and Ageing)

The National Arbovirus Advisory Committee, the National Tuberculosis Advisory Committee, the STI Surveillance Committee and the Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Committee also provided valuable contributions. Laboratory case definitions were based on those developed by the Public Health Laboratory Network. Dr Sue Skull is acknowledged for her work collating State and Territory case definitions.

Peter Lindenmayer played a vital role in the planning and co-ordination of this complex process. Thanks also go to others in the CDNA secretariat, including Robyn Leader, Andrea Symons and Jane Tussup.

This article was published in Communicable Diseases Intelligence, Volume 28 No 1, March 2004.

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This issue - Vol 28 No 1, March 2004