Notifiable Diseases

Although deaths from communicable diseases in Britain are relatively rare these days, they still occur. Communicable diseases do not respect geographic or administrative boundaries and efforts to prevent, control and treat them depend on a variety of local, national and international agencies. Notification data is a key source of information about the incidence of certain communicable diseases in the population.

Legal duty rests on all registered medical practitioners who are attending people suspected of having certain specified infectious diseases to notify the names and addresses of these patients to the Health Board. Notification should take place on the basis of clinical suspicion; a diagnosis does not have to be laboratory confirmed for notification to take place. The purpose of notification is to allow public health action to be taken within the incubation period of the disease in question. Waiting a couple of days for diagnosis to be laboratory confirmed might mean that secondary spread has already taken place.

Notifications are sent to the Health Protection Team within the Department of Public Health & Health Policy at Lothian NHS Board.

The list of notifiable diseases in Scotland differs from that in the rest of the UK. Notifiable diseases in Scotland 

  • Anthrax
  • Poliomyelitis
  • Puerperal fever
  • Chickenpox
  • Rabies
  • Cholera
  • Continued fever
  • Diphtheria
  • Scarlet fever
  • Erysipelas
  • Smallpox
  • Food poisoning
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lyme disease
  • Malaria
  • Typhoid fever
  • Measles
  • Typhus fever
  • Meningococcal infection
  • Viral Haemorrhagic fevers
  • Mumps
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Paratyphoid fever
  • Whooping cough

Many different types of bacteria, parasites and viruses can cause vomiting and/or diarrhoea in people. The purpose of any investigation is to try to prevent the spread of illness within the family and the larger community and to try and find out what has caused it. Advice is given to the patient or the patient’s guardian if they are a child, on how this may be achieved.

Also it can help obtain information that may be able to assist us in our inspections of food businesses and food sampling programme. On receipt of a food poisoning notification, we will contact the person with the symptoms (or their parent or guardian) and ask them questions regarding:

  • What and where they've eaten prior to their illness
  • Details of their symptoms
  • Whether they've been on holiday abroad.
  • Whether or not their GP has taken a faecal sample
  • Whether anybody else they ate with also experienced any symptoms.