Notifiable Diseases and Hazardous Substance Injuries

Health practitioners are legally required to report to the Medical Officer of Health any cases of:

  • Notifiable diseases (section 74 Health Act 1956) or;
  • Hazardous substance injuries (section 143 Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996).

Why notify?

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Notification allows public health services to collect, analyse and act on information to reduce the risk of disease in the public. Notifications allow us to:

  • Contact trace people to provide advice, prophylaxis, immunisation, isolation or quarantine
  • Identify environmental health issues e.g. contaminated drinking water
  • Identify disease sources e.g. foodborne illness
  • Detect and manage outbreaks
  • Monitor immunisation efficacy
  • Provide information to advocate for improved public health at a local or national level 

Who should notify?

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  • Any health practitioner involved in the case is legally required to notify
  • It is an offence under the Health Act not to notify

Notifying Toi Te Ora Public Health / Medical Officer of Health

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Check if the disease requires urgent or non-urgent notification (see the tables below)

Urgent disease notifications:

  • Please notify on clinical suspicion.
  • During working hours, phone Toi Te Ora Public Health on 0800 221 555
  • After hours all urgent notifications must be phoned to the on-call Medical Officer of Health via the hospital switchboard
  • Overnight notifications can be made in exceptional circumstances if you think immediate public health action or intervention is required.

Non-urgent disease notifications:


Make sure you have relevant case details available when calling, including:

  • Symptoms and signs of the illness
  • Results of diagnostic tests if relevant
  • Occupation, and place of work, school, or preschool
  • Date of illness onset
  • If known, contacts of an infectious case – especially vulnerable people
  • Vaccination status of the index case if relevant
  • If known, suspected source of infection (e.g. functions attended, contact with another case).
  • Recent countries visited and date of arrival in New Zealand if relevant
  • Whether the patient has been informed that they have, or may have, a notifiable disease

Urgent notification

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Phone 0800 221 555 during office hours OR call the on-call Medical Officer of Health via the hospital switchboard after hours (and overnight if you think immediate public health action or intervention is required).


Neisseria meningitidis invasive disease (meningococcal disease)

Avian influenza (highly pathogenic)



Poisoning arising from chemical contamination of the environment, including from algal blooms



Cronobacter species

Rabies and other lyssaviruses


SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)

Haemophilus influenzae B invasive disease


Hepatitis A

Toxic shellfish poisoning

Hepatitis B (acute illness only)

Typhoid and paratyphoid


Vero-toxin or Shiga-like toxin producing Escherichia coli

Meningoencephalitis - primary amoebic

Viral haemorrhagic fevers e.g. Ebola

MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome)

Outbreak of any disease¹

Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)


¹ An outbreak is an increase in the occurrence of a disease; usually two or more linked cases.

Non-urgent notification

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Complete the notification form via Best Practice e-referral OR email the notification form to Call the on-call Medical Officer of Health if there are any unusual circumstances that require discussion such as: community concern, media interest or increased public risk.

Acute gastroenteritis²


Arboviral diseases (e.g. Dengue, Zika)³





Non-seasonal influenza

Creutzfeldt Jakob disease (and other spongiform encephalopathies)



Q fever


Rheumatic fever

Hepatitis C (acute illness only)

Rickettsial diseases

Hepatitis (viral) - not otherwise specified (acute illness only)


Hazardous Substance injuries*


Hydatid disease


Invasive pneumococcal disease


Lead absorption >/= 0.48 micromol/L



Tuberculosis (all forms)


Yellow fever



  • ² Not all cases of acute gastroenteritis are notifiable or urgent. Urgent notification is required if: You suspect an outbreak, a case is at high risk of infecting others e.g. a food handler who will not stand down from work duties or a person has suspected or confirmed chemical or toxic food poisoning.

  • ³ Notify arbovirus infections urgently if there is suspicion that it has been locally acquired.

  • * Hazardous substances are defined under the HSNO Act as anything that has one or more of the following properties: explosiveness, flammability, a capacity to oxidise, corrosiveness, toxicity (including chronic toxicity), ecotoxicity, with or without bioaccumulation; OR on contact with air or water generates a substance with any 1 or more of the properties above. This includes injuries from chemical burns, cleaning products or fireworks. Both intentional and unintentional injuries should be reported.


Section C diseases

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Use the notification form on the ESR website for the following diseases.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)



Congenital syphilis