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Disease control

At any given time there are a number of infectious diseases in circulation that can quickly spread and cause health problems.

These infectious diseases, also known as communicable diseases, include MRSA, measles, scarlet fever and E.coli.

Public Health England is responsible for controlling and managing outbreaks of these types of disease.

Our public health protection team has a key role in making sure that outbreaks of infectious diseases are investigated and properly managed to reduce the risk to others.

We work closely with Public Health England and other organisations to respond quickly to any possible health threats posed by such diseases.

Notification of diseases

Medical practitioners have a statutory duty to notify their local authority or local health protection team of suspected cases of certain infectious diseases.

Diseases that must be notified include:

  • acute viral meningitis
  • cholera
  • diphtheria
  • food poisoning (if clusters or outbreaks)
  • scarlet fever
  • measles
  • mumps
  • tuberculosis
  • typhus

See the full list of notifiable diseases.

For more information about meningitis see Public Health England's factsheet attached to this page.

In some cases these notifications are used to monitor the development of outbreaks in a community or to evaluate the success of immunisation programmes.

Often these notifications can help to identify sources of infection such as contaminated food, water or land.

They can also help to identify, alert and protect anyone who may be in danger of catching the disease.

For example in the case of meningitis or tuberculosis that might be relatives, friends or family of the affected person.