Discuss about the Principles of Public Health in Infectious Disease Notification.
This is a report about principles of public health in infectious disease notification in Australia. As a student I recognize the importance of disease notification and in this this report I will define the term infectious disease notification, explain the types of infectious diseases that require notification according to the Australian Department of Health and document the recommendations that may help prevent the occurrence of infectious diseases, improve disease surveillance and accelerate the process of notification in case of an outbreak (Brownson, 2017).
Infectious disease notification refers to the process and procedures put in place to notify the public and the Department Of Health the occurrence of an infectious disease. In the past, the department of health in Australia has been able to control the epidemics associated with infectious diseases. The Communicable Diseases Network in Australia has a list of infectious diseases which require notification to the Department of Public Health in Australia despite most of the infectious diseases under control (Heywood, 2016).
Background on the public health issue
Infectious disease outbreaks will most likely affect people living in remote areas and those with poor living conditions and poor health seeking habit. Their living conditions are below the recommended standards (Gibney, 2017). This makes them more susceptible to outbreaks in relation to infectious diseases; therefore, people in this group are under constant surveillance for infectious diseases (Milinovich, 2014).
Immigrants are also linked with the occurrence of infectious disease in Australia. Illegal immigrants are a threat to the general public because they do not undergo the relevant testing and prophylactic treatment prior to coming to Australia. Immigrants who are associated with most infectious disease are those from the tropics and the Amazon region. Another group of people who have increased chances of contracting infectious diseases are those who have a compromised immune system. Caution should be exercised when prescribing and administering vaccines to such people because of the decreased ability to form anti-bodies especially when using live attenuated vaccines (Neave, 2016).
Rationale for the program
The main purpose of this program is to institute timely response to epidemics, clusters and cases of infectious conditions in order to prevent continued disease transmission, and regulate the impact and outcome of the infectious among the Australian people. The Infectious Disease Notification Program is a vital element in the prevention of epidemics and pandemics associated with infectious diseases. Notification helps in early containment and treatment of the infectious disease to prevent serious health impacts associated with the spread of communicable diseases (Thomson, 2016)
The Department of Public Health ensures that the public is fully aware of the infectious and non-infectious diseases likely to be experienced in Australia and is responsible for implementing mitigating strategies to ensure that the morbidity and mortality rates of such conditions is decreased for longer and healthier lives. It is the work of employees under this program to report and quarantine individuals suspected to have infectious diseases especially at the countries entry point such as the airports and harbors.
Description of the program
The infectious disease notification program is a part of the public health and well-being act of 2008. Public health is a part of the department of health in Australia which deals with, notification, surveillance, awareness and public health education of the Australian people regarding the infectious and non-infectious diseases that commonly affect people living in Australia. The program for infectious disease notification was started to increase the rate of response to infectious diseases, limiting the negative impact of such conditions to the public (Sloan-Gardner, 2017).
The Infectious Disease Notification Program is stated in the Public health and Well-being act of 2008 requires that all the infectious conditions are notified to the pathology department and medical department in order to control and monitor them. Notifiable diseases are grouped into four groups A, B, C and D. These groups vary in terms of urgency. Group A conditions; refers to diseases that require immediate attention and conditions which have a high mortality rate (Boulware, 2016). Notification is done through telephone calls after initial diagnosis or suspicion of clinical symptoms. Group B conditions are notified through a written document within five days after an initial confirmation or suspicion of presumptive or actual signs and symptoms, basically they are less fatal compared to group be conditions. Group C conditions; these are conditions include sexually transmitted infections and they are notified in the same form together with the client’s name in the form of initials. Group D conditions; they include conditions such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immunodeficiency Disease. Notification for group D is done within five days after initial diagnosis through a written notification (Tan, 2016).
The Communicable Disease Network in Australia ensures that the infectious disease program is running efficiently and adequately in order to enhance the monitoring and controlling strategies put in place to reduce the spread of a communicable disease. The attending medical practitioner at the site of contact should report the finding to the appropriate medical personnel with the urgency it requires in terms of the groups the condition lies in. This program also helps in flagging visitors who have not completed their vaccinations according to the Australian vaccination policy in order to reduce the chances of spreading any form of communicable diseases to the Australian public.
According to the infectious disease notification program the following conditions require notification to the relevant medical personnel; Anthrax, Australian bat Lyssavirus, Avian Influenza in Humans, Barmah forest virus infection, Botulism, Brucellosis, Campylobacteriosis, Chikungunya, Chlamydial infection, Cholera, Creutzfedt-Jakob disease, Cryptosporidiosis, Dengue virus infection, Diptheria, Donovanosis, Gonococcal infection, Flavivirus infection, Zika virus infection, Haemollytic Uraemic syndrome, Haemophilus Influenza serotype b(invasive only) (Fielding, 2016), Hepatitis A, Hepatitis b (newly acquired), Hepatitis B (unspecified), Hepatitis C (newly acquired), Hepatitis C (unspecified), Hepatitis D, Hepatitis D, Human Immunodeficiency Virus( less than 18 months), Human Immunodeficiency virus (newly acquired), Human Immunodeficiency virus (unspecified), Japanese encephalitis virus infection, Legionellosis, Leprosy, Leptospiriosis, Listeriosis, Malaria, Measles, Meningococal infection( invasive), Middle East Respiratory syndrome coronavirus, Mumps, Paratyphoid, Murray Valley encephalitis infection, Pertusis, Plague, Pneumococcal disease invasive, Polio Virus infection, Psittacosis, Q fever, Rabies, Ross River virus infection (Hoad, 2015), Rubella, congenital rubella, Salmonellosis, Severe acute respiratory syndrome, Shiga toxin producing Eschirechia coli, Shigellosis, Small pox, congenital syphilis, Syphilis( primary, secondary and latent phase for less than two years), Tetanus, Tuberculosis, Tularaemia, Typhoid, Varicella zoster infection( chicken pox), Varicella zoster infection (shigelosis), Viral hemorrhagic fevers, West Nile virus infection and yellow fevers (Tilley, 2015).
These notifiable diseases listed alphabetically are mostly caused by viruses and others by bacteria. They lie in different groups and they have different notification protocols. They all have the capacity to cause very high mortality rates some higher than ohers. Some of these conditions such as syphilis and Human Immunodeficiency virus have a long latent period with minimal symptoms.
Public health principles
The principles that govern the infectious disease notification program are the same as those that govern the Department of Public Health, since this program is under the public health. These principles are; timely response to disaster and epidemic occurrences, prolonging the life of the affected individual through pathologist and medical involvement in ensuring that the infected person fights the condition, preventing the spread of the disease to uninfected people, ensuring accessibility of quality health services and promoting health through community involvement (Rosen, 2015). The community is made aware of the signs and symptoms of infectious diseases and they are asked to report to the nearest health facility should they or anyone they know, experiences any of the symptoms.
This program involves everyone without any bias because everyone is equally at risk of contracting an infectious disease. No individual is superior to another when it comes to transmission and spreading of the communicable conditions because they know no economic class, age, sex or ethnic group.
Stake holders in this program
The major stakeholders in this program are the pathologist who are tasked with the duty of identify and understanding the disease process in an attempt to come up with a cure or a vaccines, medical practitioners who are tasked with the duty of assessing the body’s physiologic interaction with the infecting organism and providing treatment that will ensure that the patient’s body returns to balance and fights the infection. Public health nurses whose duty is to ensure that the public is aware of the conditions and how they impact on a person health, they work in coordination with the doctors and medical practitioners (Coghlan, 2015).
The Department of Public Health works hand in hand with the Australian government in ensuring that the policies put in place are adhered to book. The media is another major key player in Infectious Disease Notification Program because it ensures that information relevant to the public is well transmitted and the general public is also a major stake holder because it is their health at risk and they have the right to good health and knowledge. (de Oliveira, 2017).
The infectious disease notification program is constantly evaluated for its effectiveness and efficiency by the Department of Health Epidemiology and Infection. An evaluation was carried out from the year 1991-2011 which indicated that the effectiveness of the program was improving decade after decade. Cases submitted to Australia’s National notifiable disease surveillance indicated that vaccination rates had gone up by 62% with no defaulters. This study also indicated the improvement of timelines and efficiency of services delivered.
The evaluation of this program has been done through studies and research analysis for a number of years. Data reported within these years is analyzed and conclusions are made about the effectiveness of the program. Such studies help in deducing strategies for better service provision (Curtis, 2009).
Notification of infectious diseases is the back bone of a healthy nation, because notification helps in the monitoring of the transmission rates and the spread of the infectious disease. Communicable diseases result from either viruses or bacteria, notification enables the medical team to understand the interaction between these causative agents and the body’s physiological responses. Analysis of the causative agent helps the medical teams come up with vaccines and other forms of strategies that are used to minimize the spread of the condition (Curtis, 2009).
The development of these measures is made possible through the notification program, which prepares the medical team for aggressive research. The notification program also plays a role in ensuring the safety of the nation through surveillance and notification of communicable diseases. Most of these conditions have a high mortality and morbidity rate making it impossible to control if the medical team is not informed early (Brownson, 2017).
To enhance the effectiveness of this program I would encourage the stake holders to adopt up to date technology which will help in faster transmission of results and cases. Technology will also help pathology and medical teams in constant communication with other teams in other regions of the world who may have experienced the same public health issues. Technology will also ensure that the public is aware of the signs and symptoms associated with the condition and they can report it to the nearest health care facility (Boulware, 2016).
Some conditions require supportive treatment such as rehydration and protection from bodily fluids such information can be communicated to the public through the use of media and the internet to prevent the spread of infections (Brownson, 2017).
Another recommendation is open communication between the various stake holders; nobody should be denied information about situations that may put them at risk. Information should be readily available on the internet in official government websites which do not require log in details to assess it (Boulware, 2016).
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