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The Notification System in a Nutshell

Department of Health view website

The Background

The disease reporting system in South Africa is based on government law (National Health Act, Act 61 of 2003) which states that specific infectious diseases must be reported on specific Government forms on a daily/weekly basis to the Local Authority (Local Municipality) for action who then reports to the Provincial Department of Health and on to the National Department of Health.

Why should I notify?

“The purpose of notification is disease control”. It is therefore important that we should all notify cases and deaths due to a Notifiable condition. This will assist the health authorities to speedily implement measures that will prevent the spread of that disease. Notification of a suspected case of meningococcal disease will allow rapid tracing of close contacts for administration of post exposure chemoprophylaxis to prevent secondary cases. If there are cases of cholera that are notified early, this prevents the spread of the disease and the unnecessary loss of human life. Experts in Disease Control and Epidemiology are often called upon to investigate diseases to determine the cause of the disease (in this case cholera) and put measures to prevent the further spread e.g. health promotion activities in the communities and in health facilities to improve hygiene practices, water supply and sanitation.

How do I notify?

The Government has made available specific forms for notification purposes. Form GW17/5 MUST be used to notify a CASE or a DEATH of a Notifiable condition. N.B. Health workers must ensure that a DEATH from a Notifiable condition has also been notified as a CASE.

These forms are obtainable free of charge from the Provincial Department of Health.

Who should notify?

Any health care worker who sees and diagnoses a case or death from a Notifiable condition has the legal responsibility to notify such a case or death immediately to the relevant Local Authority. This includes health workers in both the public and private health sectors.

Do I have to wait for laboratory confirmation before I notify? No. The notification system is based on clinical notifications and therefore all suspected cases of a notifiable condition must be immediately notified. This ensures a rapid response to a clinical case and avoids the delays inherent in waiting for laboratory results. Appropriate laboratory tests should be preformed but you do not have to wait for results to notify. Some conditions are only ever based on clinical criteria such as tetanus.

The Responsibility of the Local Authority

The local authority shall investigate and do all it can to control any disease that is Notifiable and/or communicable. Should extra resources/expertise be required the provincial and national departments of health, will be available to assist.

Source: National Department of Health SA, Epidemiology and Surveillance

ICD10 Code Name

AFP Acute flaccid paralysis
A22 Anthrax
A23 Brucellosis
A00 Cholera
A50 Congenital syphilis
A98 Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
Other viral haemorrhagic fevers
A36 Diphtheria
A02&A05 Food poisoning
HIB Haemophilus influenzae type B
T56 Lead poisoning
A48 Legionellosis
A30 Leprosy
B54 Malaria
B05 Measles
A39 Meningococcal infection
A01 Paratyphoid fever
A20 Plague
T57&T60 Poisoning agricultural stock remedies
A80 Poliomyelitis (ICD10: Acute)
A82 Rabies
I00 Rheumatic fever
A35 Tetanus (ICD10: other)
A33 Tetanus neonatorum A71 Trachoma
A16.7 Tuberculosis Primary
A16.2 Tuberculosis Pulmonary
A16.9 Tuberculosis (other respiratory organs)
A17.0&G01 Tuberculosis of meninges
A18.3 Tuberculosis of intestine, peritoneum
A18.0 Tuberculosis of bones and joints
A18.1 Tuberculosis of genito-urinary system
A18.8 Tuberculosis of other organs
A18.9 Tuberculosis miliary
Tuberculosis total
A01 Typhoid fever (ICD10: Typhoid fever)
A75.0 Typhus fever (lice-borne)
A75.2 Typhus fever (ratflea-borne)
B15.9 Viral hepatitis type A (ICD10: Acute)
B16.9 Viral hepatitis type B (ICD10:Acute)
B17.8 Viral hepatitis non-A non-B (ICD10:Acute)
B19 Viral hepatitis unspecified
Viral hepatitis total
A37 Whooping cough
A95 Yellow fever

For more information and to obtain GW17/5 forms contact:

Eastern Cape – Mr Eric Maimela: Epidemiology Directorate
Private Bag X28000

Tel: 040 609 3408/3913 / Fax: 040 639 1440 / Email: maimelae@impilo.ecape.gov.za

Free State – Ms. Elsie Pretorius: Free State Health Dept, Information Systems
4th floor, LT Trust Building, Bloemfontein

Tel: 051 4081407 / Fax: 051 408 1567 / Email: pretorie@fshealth.gov.za

Gauteng – Mr Andile Ngcobo: Dept. of Health: Gauteng Province
Private Bag X085

Tel: 011 355 3588 / Fax: 011 355 3287 / Email: AndilenG@gpg.gov.za

National Health Department

Mr Jabulani Ncayiyana

Directorate: Epidemiology and Surveillance
P/Bag X828, Pretoria 0001

Tel: (012) 312 0474/0767 / Fax: 012 312 0815 / Email: ncayj@health.gov.zalusass@health.gov.za