Most vaccine-preventable disease (VPD) levels in Florida are at or near record lows. Many infants and toddlers receive all recommended vaccines by two years of age, but there are still under-immunized and unimmunized children, leaving the potential for outbreaks of disease. Some adolescents and adults have missed opportunities to protect themselves against diseases. The Immunization Program works closely with local County Health Departments (CHDs) and private partners to improve and sustain immunization coverage levels. The goal is to reduce and eventually eliminate VPDs.
In our mobile society, millions of people travel to and from other countries where VPDs remain common. Unprotected travelers can bring disease home with them. A disease outbreak is just a plane-ride away. Without vaccines, epidemics of VPDs could return to Florida, resulting in increased—and unnecessary—illness, disability, and death.
Section 381.0031, Florida Statutes (FS) requires licensed healthcare practitioners to report diseases of public health significance to the Florida Department of Health (see the Reportable Diseases/Conditions in Florida Practitioner List).
Each laboratory, licensed practitioner, and medical examiner who diagnoses, treats, or suspects a case or an occurrence of a disease or condition listed in the Table of Notifiable Diseases or Conditions, Chapter 64D-3.029, Florida Administrative Code (FAC), is required to report the notifiable disease or condition within the designated timeframe. The public health system depends upon reports of disease to monitor the health of the community and to provide the basis for preventive action.
The Immunization Program supplies guidance for the disease investigation of these VPDs: measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, pertussis, polio, diphtheria, and varicella (chickenpox). In addition, hepatitis B surface antigen-positive (HBsAg) test results in a pregnant woman or a child up to 24 months of age must be reported and are tracked by the Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program (PHBPP) located in the Immunization Program. For Florida VPD data visit the Florida Community Health Assessment Resource Tool Set (Florida CHARTS).
The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) does not change disease reporting requirements or the obligation to cooperate with epidemiologic investigations. According to HIPAA §160.203, disease reporting, public health disease surveillance, and disease intervention activities are among those that are EXEMPT from federal preemption of state laws. Some protected health information can be disclosed without a patient's written authorization. Disease reporting circumstances can include:
For more information regarding HIPAA and disease reporting, visit the following links:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention