Public Health England (PHE) aims to detect possible outbreaks of disease and epidemics as rapidly as possible. Accuracy of diagnosis is secondary, and since 1968 clinical suspicion of a notifiable infection is all that’s required.
‘Notification of infectious diseases’ is the term used to refer to the statutory duties for reporting notifiable diseases in the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 and the Health Protection (Notification) Regulations 2010.
Registered medical practitioners: report notifiable diseases
Registered medical practitioners (RMPs) have a statutory duty to notify the ‘proper officer’ at their local council or local health protection team (HPT) of suspected cases of certain infectious diseases.
Complete a notification form immediately on diagnosis of a suspected notifiable disease. Don’t wait for laboratory confirmation of a suspected infection or contamination before notification. Consult the for further information.
Send the form to the proper officer within 3 days, or notify them verbally within 24 hours if the case is urgent
by phone, letter, encrypted email or secure fax machine.
If you need help, contact your local HPT using the postcode lookup.
For more detail on reporting responsibilities of RMPs, see page 14 of Health Protection Legislation (England) Guidance 2010.
All proper officers must pass the entire notification to PHE within 3 days of a case being notified, or within 24 hours for urgent cases.
List of notifiable diseases
Diseases notifiable to local authority proper officers under the Health Protection (Notification) Regulations 2010:
- Acute encephalitis
- Acute infectious hepatitis
- Acute meningitis
- Acute poliomyelitis
- Enteric fever (typhoid or paratyphoid fever)
- Food poisoning
- Haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS)
- Infectious bloody diarrhoea
- Invasive group A streptococcal disease
- Legionnaires’ disease
- Meningococcal septicaemia
- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
- Scarlet fever
- Viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF)
- Whooping cough
- Yellow fever
Report other diseases that may present significant risk to human health under the category ‘other significant disease’.
Laboratories: report notifiable organisms (causative agents)
All laboratories in England performing a primary diagnostic role must notify PHE on the confirmation of a notifiable organism.
Read the guidance for diagnostic laboratories on.
For more details on the responsibilities of laboratories, see page 28 of Health Protection Legislation (England)
List of notifiable organisms (causative agents)
Causative agents notifiable to PHE under the Health Protection (Notification) Regulations 2010:
- Bacillus anthracis
- Bacillus cereus (only if associated with food poisoning)
- Bordetella pertussis
- Borrelia spp
- Brucella spp
- Burkholderia mallei
- Burkholderia pseudomallei
- Campylobacter spp
- Chikungunya virus
- Chlamydophila psittaci
- Clostridium botulinum
- Clostridium perfringens (only if associated with food poisoning)
- Clostridium tetani
- Corynebacterium diphtheriae
- Corynebacterium ulcerans
- Coxiella burnetii
- Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus
- Cryptosporidium spp
- Dengue virus
- Ebola virus
- Entamoeba histolytica
- Francisella tularensis
- Giardia lamblia
- Guanarito virus
- Haemophilus influenzae (invasive)
- Hanta virus
- Hepatitis A, B, C, delta, and E viruses
- Influenza virus
- Junin virus
- Kyasanur Forest disease virus
- Lassa virus
- Legionella spp
- Leptospira interrogans
- Listeria monocytogenes
- Machupo virus
- Marburg virus
- Measles virus
- Mumps virus
- Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex
- Neisseria meningitidis
- Omsk haemorrhagic fever virus
- Plasmodium falciparum, vivax, ovale, malariae, knowlesi
- Polio virus (wild or vaccine types)
- Rabies virus (classical rabies and rabies-related lyssaviruses)
- Rickettsia spp
- Rift Valley fever virus
- Rubella virus
- Sabia virus
- Salmonella spp
- Shigella spp
- Streptococcus pneumoniae (invasive)
- Streptococcus pyogenes (invasive)
- Varicella zoster virus
- Variola virus
- Verocytotoxigenic Escherichia coli (including E.coli O157)
- Vibrio cholerae
- West Nile Virus
- Yellow fever virus
- Yersinia pestis
Reporting of SARS-COV-2 test results to Public Health England
All laboratories in England performing a primary diagnostic role must notify PHE of specified causative agents (organisms), in accordance the Health Protection (Notification) Regulations 2010. SARS-COV-2 is the notifiable causative agent for COVID-19. All registered medical practitioners in England must notify the proper officer of the relevant local authority or the local PHE health protection team of specified infectious diseases, in accordance with the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 and the Health Protection (Notification) Regulations 2010. All proper officers must disclose the entire notification to PHE. COVID-19 is a notifiable infectious disease.
PHE is an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). It fulfils the Secretary of State’s statutory duties to protect health and address health inequalities and executes the Secretary of State’s power to promote the health and wellbeing of the nation. PHE’s annual remit letter from the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care sets out its responsibility to protect the public’s health from infectious diseases and other public health hazards.
PHE has approval from the Secretary of State to process confidential information associated with notifiable causative agents and notifiable infectious diseases without patient consent under Regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002.
Specification for new data feeds
To support the reporting of the required infectious diseases, PHE has developed the Second-Generation Surveillance System (SGSS). This is the national surveillance system that hold all test results. To enable to receipt of the data, the following fields are required:
- first name
- date of birth
- contact telephone number (preferably mobile)
- contact email
- sample taken date
- sample number
- sample type
- test method (for example PCR)
- result (such as COVID-19 +ve/-ve)
- result date
- name of laboratory
- other – please detail if other fields are available.
The preferred method of receiving the data is as a CSV file via sftp. In order to set up a sftp account PHE need to have a named contact and a public ssh key.
To establish a new reporting feed to PHE contact SGSS.Helpdesk@phe.gov.uk.
Subscribe to reports
PHE publishes reports on the numbers of laboratory notifications received. PHE’s Information Management section collates the returns of registered medical practitioner (RMP) notifications and laboratory causative agents nationally and publishes analyses of local and national trends weekly.
For data older than 1 year see the NOIDs collection.
Health protection legislation in England gives public authorities powers and duties to prevent and control risks to human health from infection or contamination, including by chemicals and radiation.
See the revised measures within the amended Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 and its accompanying regulations.
The legislation adopts an all hazards approach, and, in addition to the specified list of infectious diseases, there is a requirement to notify cases of other infections or contamination which could present a significant risk to human health.