• Communicable Disease
    Reporting & Surveillance

     “The ongoing, systematic collections, analysis,
    interpretation and dissemination of communicable disease data”

    Why Report?

    Health care providers are required to report communicable disease for several reasons. The most common reasons are listed as follows:

    • To identify outbreaks and epidemics. If an unusual number of cases occur, local health authorities must investigate to control the spread of the disease.
    • To enable preventive treatment and/or education to be provided.
    • To help target prevention programs, identify care needs, and use scarce prevention resources efficiently.
    • To evaluate the success of long-term control efforts.
    • To facilitate epidemiologic research to uncover a preventable cause.
    • To assist with national and international disease surveillance efforts. For some diseases that are unusual in Michigan, we are part of a national network that the Federal government depends on to determine whether national or international investigations are needed.

    Accurate and complete disease reporting is essential to the community health.


    What to report?  

    Click here to view the Reportable Diseases in Michigan Chart


    A. Physician or Health Care Professional Authorization to Report

    Both laboratories and physicians are required to report persons with certain infections or conditions.  For complete instructions, download the Health Care Professional’s Guide to the Michigan Communicable Disease Rules.

    In addition, all of the following individuals are specifically authorized to report designated conditions to local health authorities:

    • Administrators, epidemiologists, infection control practitioners from healthcare facilities or other institutions
    • Dentists, nurses, physician’s assistants
    • Pharmacists
    • Veterinarians
    • Case managers
    • Any other healthcare professional

    It is suggested that all persons with reporting responsibilities verify that reporting systems are in place at the medical practices and hospitals in which they work and at the laboratories they use.

    Furthermore, health facility infection control committees or designees are required to develop policies and procedures to ensure appropriate reporting by both physicians who treat individuals at their facilities and by laboratories of such facilities.

    B. Reporting of Suspected Illness

    1. Physicians and laboratories

    When a physician or laboratory suspects the presence of a designated condition but does not have sufficient information to confirm that the condition or agent is present, the physician or laboratory must report the designated condition or agent as suspect to the appropriate local health department. Upon confirmation of the disease or presence of the agent, the physician or laboratory shall report the condition as confirmed to the appropriate local health department.

    2. Schools, daycares and camps

    Primary schools, secondary schools, camps, or child daycares shall report to the local health department within 24 hours of suspecting any of the serious communicable diseases or the unusual occurrence, outbreak or epidemic among those in attendance of any disease, infection, or condition.


    A report must contain the following information:

    • The patient's full name
    • The patient's residential address, including street, city, village or township, county, and zip code
    • The patient's telephone number
    • The patient's date of birth (or age) and sex
    • The name of the disease, infection, or condition reported; and date of onset, if known
    • The specific laboratory test (if tested), date performed, where performed, and results
    • The name and address of the reporting facility

    To the extent that the information is readily available, a report of an unusual occurrence, outbreak, or epidemic of a disease, infection, or other condition shall include all of the following information:

    • The nature of the confirmed or suspected disease, infection, or condition
    • The approximate number of cases
    • The approximate illness onset dates
    • The location of the outbreak