Year in review Part 1: Communicable diseases
Health protection involves the prevention and control of threats to health from communicable diseases and the environment. In NSW in 2013 these functions were carried out by a range of groups, among them Health Protection NSW’s Communicable Diseases and Environmental Health Branches, the NSW Ministry of Health’s Population and Public Health Division, public health units, clinicians, Local Health District services, local government, other government agencies, and communities.
This is the first of a two part report in which we highlight the major health outcomes and achievements related to Health Protection NSW’s activities in 2013, including some examples of health protection projects from the field. These are many and varied, and include:
- An immunisation awareness campaign
- An influenza prevention campaign
- New legislation to strengthen immunisation requirements for children enrolling in child care
- Reduced pertussis
- Reduce invasive pneumococcal disease
- A new HIV program to support doctors diagnosing patients with HIV infection
- An outbreak of enterovirus 71
- New Aboriginal housing for Health projects
- Continued progress in the Aboriginal community water and sewerage program and training for Aboriginal environmental health officers
- Prevention of heat related illness
- Better understanding of the sources of air pollution in the Upper Hunter.
In this June Report we focus on some of the activities related to communicable disease surveillance, investigation, control and prevention. In July’s Health Protection Report we will focus on environmental health activities.
The health outcomes in this report are measured mainly through routine surveillance data, derived from notifications of selected diseases from doctors, hospitals and laboratories to public health units under the NSW Public Health Act 2010.
The tables show disease-specific data on notifiable conditions reported by: year of onset of illness; month of onset of illness; Local Health District; and age group and sex. Note that the degree to which notification data reflect the true incidence of disease varies and is subject to a range of caveats.
Protecting the health of the community is a collaborative effort, involving public health units, clinicians, laboratory scientists, affected communities, and other government and community-based organisations. We thank all those involved for the role they played in NSW in 2013.