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Communicable Diseases

Stay informed & know the risks

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Communicable Diseases

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A communicable disease is an infectious disease that is spread from one person or an animal to another person.

This can be from breathing in organisms in the air, through contaminated food/water, from direct contact with body fluids or by being bitten by an insect (a vector).

The Communicable Diseases Team is responsible for investigating cases of certain infectious diseases (also called notifiable diseases) and outbreaks that occur in residents of Western Sydney. These notifiable diseases must be reported to the team under the law, NSW Public Health Act 2010. This is because the diseases can spread and cause illness in many people in the community.

The team work closely within the Public Health Unit with the Immunisation and Environmental Health teams, as well as with hospitals, general practices, aged care and child care staff, the public health network within NSW and other agencies to control the risks to public health by stopping the spread of infectious diseases, and to improve public health activities through education and research.

1. Communicable disease surveillance and control

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The Public Health Act 2010 (law) require that certain infectious diseases or medical conditions be notified to the local Public Health Unit by doctors, laboratories, hospitals, aged care facilities, schools and child care centres. The team follow up these reports by speaking to the local doctor or specialist and then contacting the patient. Information of all notified conditions are entered into a secure database called the NSW Notifiable Diseases Database or NCIMS.

The database allows us to monitor these diseases and identify unusual patterns of disease, (this is called surveillance). This triggers an investigation into what may be causing the disease and what steps should be put in place to prevent the disease from affecting more people.

The team work with clinicians and patients/community members to ensure appropriate public health steps are taken to control and reduce the spread of infectious diseases and control the risk to the public. These measures are informed by evidence-based guidelines called the NSW Public Health Unit Control Guidelines.

If you wish to report one of these diseases or an unusual disease outbreak, contact the Communicable Diseases team on 9840 3603.

More information on the diseases or medical conditions that must be notified, disease factsheets and other useful links are under Resources below.

2. Responding to disease outbreaks

The Communicable Diseases team work with all Residential Care Facilities (RCFs) and Child Care Facilities (CCFs) in Western Sydney to manage outbreaks when they occur to reduce the spread within the facility. They also assist facility staff to prevent and be prepared for these outbreaks.

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If you would like to discuss an opportunity to work together to achieve better health outcomes for people in Western Sydney please contact us below.

Population Health Services

 

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Gungurra, Building 68, Cumberland Hospital Campus Fleet Street, North Parramatta New South Wales

 
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T: (02) 9840 3603
F: (02) 9840 3608

 
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Locked Bag 7118,  Parramatta BC 2124

 
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WSLHD-CentreForPopulation
Health@health.nsw.gov.au

 

Hours of Service: Monday to Friday 8.30am - 5pm