Notifiable conditions register
The Public Health Act 2005 aims to protect people from these conditions, and the spread of communicable diseases in ways that provide a balance between protecting public health and allowing individual rights to liberty and privacy.
To fulfil this aim, information about people who have, or may have, a notifiable condition must be reported to Queensland Health, and is held on a register. The register is a database known as NOCS (Notifiable Conditions System).
About the register
The purpose of the register is to:
- Respond as necessary through processes that include, but are not limited to, contact tracing, infection control, advice on management, and provision of relevant information
- Identify cases of disease needing immediate public health response e.g. cases of meningococcal disease
- Monitor where and when disease occurs, and alert health workers to changes in disease occurrence in their area, e.g. influenza surveillance
- Identify outbreaks and assist in their management, e.g. surveillance of salmonellosis to find common source outbreaks
- Provide information about notifiable conditions to other agencies or groups e.g. provision of data to the Commonwealth Government or information for research purposes
- Provide information to help develop public health policy and strategies and evaluate their impact
- Assess disease impact and help set priorities for prevention and control activities, e.g. surveillance of trends in acute rheumatic fever and chronic rheumatic heart disease
- Study the value of preventive measures, e.g. monitoring the decline in Haemophilus influenzae type b disease in response to Hib immunisation.
Data security and privacy
Identifiable, or potentially re-identifiable, information reported to the register is highly protected from disclosure, except:
- where there is written consent of the person to whom the information relates
- when authorised under another Act or law
- to persons performing duties described under the Act (such as for contact tracing).
Queensland Health can use information reported to the register to help trace and assist persons who may have been exposed to a notifiable condition to prevent the spread of the condition in the community.
Actions can also be taken to prevent a person with a controlled notifiable condition from creating a risk to the health of the public either because of the condition or by their behaviour.