The Georgia Department of Public Health, under the legal authority of OCGA 31-12-2 “is empowered to declare certain diseases, injuries, and conditions to be diseases requiring notice and to require the reporting thereof to the county board of health and the department in a manner and at such times as may be prescribed. The department shall require that such data be supplied as are deemed necessary and appropriate for the prevention of certain diseases, injuries, and conditions as are determined by the department. All such reports and data shall be deemed confidential and shall not be open to inspection by the public; provided, however, the department may release such reports and data in statistical form or for valid research purposes.
A health care provider, coroner, or medical examiner shall report to the department and the county board of health all known or presumptively diagnosed cases of persons harboring any illness or health condition that may be caused by bioterrorism, epidemic or pandemic disease, or novel and highly fatal infectious agents or toxins and that may pose a substantial risk of a public health emergency. Reportable illnesses and conditions include, without limitation, diseases caused by biological agents listed at 42 C.F.R. Part 72, app. A (2000) and any illnesses or conditions identified by the department as potential causes of a public health emergency.”
Reporting notifiable diseases enables appropriate public health follow-up, helps identify and control outbreaks, and provides a better understanding of disease trends in Georgia. The Notifiable Disease Epidemiology staff performs routine surveillance for over 60 notifiable diseases, as well as investigates reports of disease outbreaks, completes data requests, and provides infection control guidance and training.