Communicable Disease Control

The Communicable Diseases program undertakes communicable disease surveillance and initiates responses to reduce the spread of communicable diseases. Early detection and intervention are essential parts of the communicable disease program. For further information please contact the Public Health Officer at your nearest local Public Health Unit via the NSW Public Health Unit Telephone Access Line 1300 066 055 during business hours.  

Outbreaks within Aged Care Facilities

The North Coast Public Health Unit is available to assist Aged Care Facilities with outbreaks of infectious diseases and other public health matters.

Chief Executive Officers (CEO), Managers and Healthcare providers within aged care facilities have responsibilities under the Public Health Act 2010 to report cases of notifiable diseases. Reporting should be directed to the Public Health Officer at your nearest Public Health on 1300 066 055 during business hours or the on call Officer on 0439 882 752 after hours.

The Public Health Act 2010 aims to improve infectious disease control in NSW through improved disease notification procedures. Your local Public Health Unit should be notified at the first suspicion of any presumed infectious disease outbreaks. At all times receiving Hospitals and the Ambulance Services should be advised prior to the transferring of presumed infectious residents.

We recommend that you contact the Public Health Unit immediately upon identification of the second case of a presumed infectious disease within your facility. Naturally, appropriate infection control practices should be implemented immediately in all instances of presumed infectious disease.

There are a number of excellent resources available to guide response to outbreaks, notification procedures and the role of the Public Health Unit, these include:

Outbreaks within Child Care Facilities

The North Coast Public Health Unit is available to assist Childcare Centres and Family Day Care Services with outbreaks of infectious diseases and other public health matters.

Directors and staff within childcare centres and family day care settings have responsibilities under the Public Health Act 2010 to report cases of notifiable diseases.  Reporting should be directed to the your nearest local Public Health Unit.

A list of conditions notifiable by Childcare Centres under the Public Health Act 2010 is contained within NSW Health policy Directive 

There are a number of other excellent resources available to guide response to outbreaks, notification procedures and the role of the PHU, these include:

Tips on protecting your new baby from infectious diseases

The North Coast Public Health Unit has put together a resource for new mothers on protecting their new baby from Infectious Diseases. Please click hereOpen this document with ReadSpeaker docReader to view.

For further copies for this resource, please contact the Assistant to Director Public Health: MNCLHD-PMCHC-PHUAdmin@health.nsw.gov.au.  

Older children and adults can get whooping cough and can spread it to babies. Whooping cough can be life-threatening for babies and they often develop extremely severe symptoms.  Symptoms of whooping cough include:
  • a runny nose, followed by a cough, which becomes worse
  • a cough that occurs in spasms, which may be followed by vomiting
  • a cough with a ‘whoop’ (a sudden noisy gasp at the end of coughing)
Anyone with symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Whooping cough spreads quickly in childcare, schools and in families. Diagnosis and early treatment of new infections can help prevent the spread. Immunisation reduces the risk of infection but the vaccine does not give lifelong protection and reinfection can occur.

Check that your child is up to date with vaccines and that vaccines are given on time

Vaccinate babies

The whooping cough vaccine is provided free of charge for infants at 2, 4 and 6 months (the first dose can be given as early as 6 weeks of age).

Vaccinate children

A free booster is given at 4 years of age (this can be given from 3½ years) and is also provided in high school as part of the NSW School-based Vaccination Program.

Vaccinate adults

For a limited time, FREE pertussis (dTpa) vaccine is available for all new parents, grandparents and any other adults who will regularly care for infants less than 12 months of age.

If you or your child has not been immunised, discuss a catch-up plan with your doctor.
Influenza

Influenza, or flu, is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. There are three main types of influenza virus that cause infection in humans – types A, B and C – and many sub-types or strains. Influenza can occur throughout the year but influenza activity usually peaks in winter.

Influenza is a vaccine-preventable illness but a new vaccine needs to be given each year because influenza viruses change (mutate) constantly. A new influenza vaccine is prepared each year to best match the strains predicted for the coming influenza season

2019 Influenza Vaccination 2019

Government funded influenza vaccines will start to become available from mid-April 2019.  For further information about who is eligible to received free influenza vaccine, please see the NSW Ministry of Health website.

NSW Ministry of Health have developed an Influenza Vaccination Provider Toolkit to assist GPs and other Immunisation Providers to manage influenza vaccination programs and vaccines in their practices.  Along with this toolkit is a checklist/timeline and vaccine ordering worksheet.  For further information about this and other influenza vaccination 2019 see below links:

 

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Whooping cough (sometimes called pertussis) is a serious respiratory infection that causes a long coughing illness. In babies, the infection can sometimes lead to pneumonia and occasionally brain damage and can be even life threatening. Older children and adults can get whooping cough and can spread it to others, including babies.

Measles
Measles is a serious disease that is easily spread through the air. Immunisation is effective in preventing the disease. All children and adults born during or after 1966 should be vaccinated with 2 doses of measles containing vaccine if not already immune.
Resources and further information

Services available at these locations

Port Macquarie

PO Box 126 (Morton Street)
Port Macquarie NSW 2444

Phone 02 6588 2750

F 02 6588 2837

After Hours

0439 882 752

Lismore

PO Box 498 (31 Uralba Street)
Lismore NSW 2480

Phone 02 6620 7585

F 02 6620 2552

After Hours

0439 882 752