Health protection involves the prevention and control of threats to health from communicable diseases and the environment. In NSW in 2014 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.
In this report we highlight some of the major health protection issues in 2014, including some examples from public health units.
- the start of an upswing in pertussis notifications
- three clusters of measles
- increases in notifications of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, salmonellosis, giardiasis, STEC, hepatitis E and dengue
- declines in notifications of rotavirus, cryptosporidiosis, Legionnaires’ disease
- a severe influenza season
- stable rates of HIV infection
We also report activities in the following 12 priority areas:
- improve the timeliness of vaccinations of children and adolescents
- contain all importations of measles
- rapidly investigate and help control disease outbreaks
- prevent the transmission of HIV through improved clinical interventions
- reduce the transmission of tuberculosis in Aboriginal communities
- establish electronic notification of diseases by laboratories
- improve drinking water quality through risk management programs for suppliers
- improve the health of Aboriginal people through Housing for Health projects
- participate in planning processes to minimise the health impacts from development
- reduce tobacco use by enforcement of smoke free environment and retail regulations
- improve workforce capacity, through better training including on-line modules
- prepare for public health emergencies
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 2014.