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Communicable Diseases

What are Communicable Diseases?

A communicable disease is a disease that is spread from one person or animal to a person.

The NSW Public Health Act 2010 requires that certain diseases or medical conditions be notified to the local Public Health Unit.

How are they transmitted?

Communicable diseases can be transmitted:

  • Through the air.
  • Through the environment.
  • From contaminated surfaces, water, or foods.
  • Through contact with bodily fluids.
  • Through insect bites.

What we do

Our Communicable Diseases Team works with doctors, laboratories, hospitals, child care centres, schools and directly with patients to follow up on notifications within Sydney Local Health District. These include single cases of high-priority diseases or outbreaks that may pose a public health risk.

The Communicable Diseases Team also provides information and advice about communicable diseases to health professionals and the community. As a part of their regular duties, the Communicable Diseases Team works closely with the Epidemiology, Immunisation and Environmental Health Teams within the Public Health Unit.

The Communicable Diseases Team also contributes to local and state-wide research projects to inform the response to and management of communicable diseases.

Visit NSW Health infectious diseases to find out more.

Emergency Management

Stay healthy during bushfire season

Find out how you can prepare for the bushfire season to limit the impact on your health and the health of your family. With more hot days ahead, it is important to also know the risks of heat, who is at risk, how to prepare, and how to protect yourself and others.​
Bushfires and bushfire smoke Beat the heat

The Public Health Unit works with NSW Health, healthcare facilities and partner agencies to prepare, prevent, respond to, and recover from emergencies and major incidents. Effective planning and preparation can reduce the impact on public health from many types of emergencies, including:

  • Natural disasters and severe weather.
  • Man-made emergencies (for example, a building collapse or major transport accident).
  • Infectious diseases/food safety threats.
  • Chemical and radiation emergencies.

Visit NSW Health emergency preparedness to find out more.

Environmental Health

Environmental Health addresses physical, chemical, and biological risk factors affecting human health. The Public Health Unit Environmental Health Team conducts investigations for environmental determinants of health and notifiable diseases for the population of the District.

Environmental Health includes the provision of safe drinking water supplies, safe recreational water and public swimming pools, sewage management, toxicology assessment, legionella control, skin penetration activities, funeral industries, arbovirus control and mosquito monitoring, air quality, waste management, hygiene, and tobacco control.

The Environmental Health Team has a shared role with local councils and other government agencies such as the Environment Protection Authority, Sydney Water and others to protect and improve environmental health for our community under the Environmental Health Legislation.
NSW Health environmental health fact sheets

Epidemiology

The Epidemiology Team consists of multidisciplinary public health professionals and assists in the management and monitoring of the health of residents in the District. The Team supports the population through surveillance, assessment, investigation, control, and prevention of disease. 

The Epidemiology Team provides support to the Unit, particularly during a public health event or emergency response. Outside of such scenarios, the Team provides the Public Health Unit with research support and training, education on surveillance data processes and technical expertise.

The Team provides essential data, trends, and health surveillance to the Unit. This includes data on the distribution, determinants, and control of diseases in our community. Vulnerable populations are central to our work in the prevention of disease. Our information helps inform public health actions, decisions, and policies. 

Immunisation

Immunisation is one of the most effective public health measures against serious illness. The Immunisation Team within the Public Health Unit administers school vaccination programs in Sydney Local Health District and provides general immunisation advice.

Immunisation milestones occur throughout life, from birth to early childhood, adolescence, and later adulthood.

NSW Immunisation Schedule

For information about immunisation milestones that occur throughout life.
 
Some vaccines may be recommended for people who may be at higher risk for specific reasons, such as their occupation.

 
Childhood immunisations are available at your doctor/general practice or Aboriginal Medical Service.

 
Vaccines included as part of the NSW Immunisation schedule are provided free to providers, although some providers may charge a consultation fee.

Immunisation Programs

The Immunisation Team within the Public Health Unit administers school vaccination programs in Sydney Local Health District and provides general immunisation advice.

 
Here, you can find information on vaccines and immunisation programs.

Vaccines available in Pharmacies

Find out which vaccines are available through approved pharmacists.

Australian Immunisation Register

Before enrolling in childcare or school, parents will need an up-to-date Immunisation History Statement.

 
This can be obtained from the Australian Immunisation Register by logging onto their MyGov account or Medicare mobile app, calling 1800 653 809, or emailing air@servicesaustralia.gov.au

 
Once a child turns 14 years of age, families no longer have access to the child’s Medicare records, including Immunisation History Statements.

PHRAME

Public Health Research Analytics and Methods for Evidence (PHRAME) is a new Sydney Local Health District and University of Sydney School of Public Health collaboration to embed research-informed epidemiological and data science methods that:

  • Support the production of actionable evidence for decision-makers.
  • Increase accessibility of health and population data.
  • Create opportunities for capacity building and training in PHRAME’s focal areas through formal (for example, workshops and project supervision) and informal pathways.
  • Support research and collaboration.

PHRAME is based within the Public Health Unit but will work across Sydney Local Health District. This partnership will provide accurate, timely and robust information through the application of rigorous analytical methods and build new collaborations both locally and internationally.