Infectious diseases

We often investigate cases of infectious disease in order to:

  • prevent the spread of illness
  • establish possible causes
  • prevent outbreaks

More information on examples of infectious diseases is available through the Health Protection Agency.

Our response to infectious diseases will depend on the circumstances around each case. Some infectious diseases are subject to statutory notifications.

We often contribute to investigations run jointly with colleagues from the Health Protection Agency, which exists to combat disease and protect health.

Local disease outbreaks

We’re often required to investigate local issues and to carry out sampling to establish possible causes.

We’ll contact affected individuals and the investigation may involve the completion of a simple questionnaire, or a visit from an environmental health officer. Advice can be given to a patient on how to prevent the spread of disease within the home.

Food-related outbreaks

If the case is suspected to be food poisoning or a food-born illness, we’ll use our links to local food businesses and expertise in food safety matters to investigate.

Additional precautions may be required when the affected person is connected to the food or catering trade. Where there is evidence implicating a particular food premises within our area as a possible source of the outbreak, we may carry out a food hygiene inspection.

Controlling infectious diseases

The Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 requires doctors who make a diagnosis (confirmed or suspected) of an infectious disease to notify us. You’ll find an up-to-date list of notifiable diseases on the Health Protection Agency website.

The UK’s national arrangements for notification and surveillance of infectious diseases enable prompt investigation, risk assessment and response to any cases that present a potentially significant risk to human health in the general population.

The aim is to control the impact of these diseases, preventing outbreaks and further spread.