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Notification of infectious diseases in accordance with the Public Health Act (2008)

Melden van infectieziekten conform de Wet publieke gezondheid (2008)


The rules for the compulsory notification of infectious diseases in the Netherlands will change as of 1 December 2008. Apart from the treating physicians and the managers of institutions housing vulnerable persons, in future, laboratory managers will also have to report infectious diseases to the Municipal Health Services (GGD). The number of notifiable diseases has also been increased from 36 to 42. The government needs the reports in order to take prevention and control measures. In response, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has documented the background of the new Act including the information on compulsory notification. In addition, an overview is given of the characteristics of each notifiable disease and the purpose of the compulsory notification is illustrated by using examples taken from daily practice. The above changes result from legislation changes of the Infectious Diseases Act 1998 that will be incorporated into the Public Health Act as from 1 December 2008. The reports will be made to the GGD who will pass on the anonymous data to the Centre for Infectious Disease Control at the RIVM. The GGD uses this information in order to take prevention and control measures, to detect a source of infection (for example, in food) or for contact management purposes - to find someone who may have been in contact with a sick or infected person. A further reason behind notification is that preventive drugs and hygiene advice can be given where appropriate. Also, additional diagnostic testing can be requested and outbreaks can be reported. The information is used for surveillance purposes by the RIVM and for monitoring the efficacy of vaccinations. In rare cases, where there is a risk that the disease may spread at international level, the RIVM will inform the WHO of the situation.

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