Vaccine Preventable Diseases and Vaccination Coverage in Australia, 2003 to 2005

Appendix 6. Notifiable diseases definitions in use prior to 2004

Disclaimer: This is the fourth report on vaccine preventable disease and vaccination coverage in Australia, and is produced by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing published as a supplement to the Communicable Diseases Intelligence journal Volume 31, June 2007.

Page last updated: 20 July 2007

In September 2003, new national case definitions for notifications reported to NNDSS were endorsed by the Communicable Diseases Network Australia,11 with nearly all jurisdictions implementing the new definitions in January 2004 (New South Wales commenced August 2004). Prior to the adoption of the national definitions, some jurisdictions used the 1994 NHMRC case definitions10 as written (e.g. South Australia and Western Australia) and others used their own definitions (e.g. New South Wales and Victoria). This Appendix describes the definitions in use for notifiable diseases data prior to 2004 (i.e. the first year (2003) of the three year review period of this report). Further detail about definitions previously in use can be found in earlier reports in this series1–3 and in Skull 2001.310

Diphtheria

Notifications prior to 2004

Isolation of toxigenic Corynebacterium diphtheriae and one of the following:

pharyngitis and/or laryngitis (with or without membrane) or

toxic (cardiac or neurological) symptoms.

Hib

Notifications prior to 2004
  • a) A clinically compatible illness (meningitis, epiglottitis, cellulitis, septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, pneumonia, pericarditis or septicaemia) and either:

the isolation of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) from blood; or

detection of Hib antigen (in a clinically compatible case); or

detection of Gram-negative bacteria where the organism fails to grow in a clinical case.

or

  • b) A confident diagnosis of epiglottitis by direct vision, laryngoscopy or X-ray.

Note: From 2002 in Victoria, notifications only included cases where Hib was laboratory confirmed.311

Hepatitis A

Notifications prior to 2004
  • a) Detection of anti-hepatitis A virus IgM antibody, in the absence of recent vaccination

or

  • b) A clinical case of hepatitis (jaundice, elevated aminotransferase levels without a non-infectious cause), and an epidemiological link to a serologically confirmed case.

Hepatitis B

Notifications prior to 2004

People who have a positive hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and one of the following:

  • a) hepatitis B core antibody (Anti-HBc) IgM

or

  • b) demonstration of a clinical illness consistent with acute viral hepatitis (jaundice, elevated aminotransferase).

Influenza

Became a notifiable disease in 2001 and the definition has remained unchanged.

Measles

Notifications prior to 2004
  • a) An illness characterised by all of the following features:

a generalised maculopapular rash lasting three or more days, and

a fever (at least 38ºC if measured), and

cough or coryza or conjunctivitis or Koplik spots

or

  • b) Demonstration of measles-specific IgM antibody

or

  • c) A fourfold or greater change in measles antibody titre between acute and convalescent phase sera obtained at least two weeks apart, with tests preferably conducted at the same laboratory

or

  • d) Isolation of measles virus from a clinical specimen

or

  • e) A clinically compatible case epidemiologically related to another case.

Meningococcal disease

Notifications prior to 2004

In jurisdictions apart from New South Wales and the Northern Territory, a notification of meningococcal disease required supportive laboratory evidence, although the nature of this varied. In New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory, a clinical diagnosis of meningococcal disease without laboratory evidence was accepted as a presumptive (New South Wales) or probable (Queensland, Northern Territory) case.

Mumps

Notifications prior to 2004
  • a) Isolation of mumps virus from a clinical specimen

or

  • b) Significant rise in mumps antibody level by any standard serological assay, except following vaccination

or

  • c) A clinically compatible illness (unilateral or bilateral swelling of the parotid or other salivary glands lasting two days or more without other apparent cause).

Notes: In New South Wales, only laboratory-confirmed cases [(a) or (b)] were notifiable. Mumps was not notifiable in Queensland between July 1999 and June 2001. From July 2001, notifications based on a clinical case definition alone [(c)] were no longer notifiable in Victoria.

Pertussis

Notifications prior to 2004
  • a) Isolation of B. pertussis from a clinical specimen

or

  • b) Elevated B. pertussis-specific IgA in serum or the detection of B. pertussis antigen in a nasopharyngeal specimen using immunofluorescence with history of a clinically compatible illness

or

  • c) An illness lasting two weeks or more with one of the following:

paroxysms of coughing, or

inspiratory whoop without other apparent causes, or

post-tussive vomiting

or

  • d) An illness characterised by a cough lasting at least two weeks in a patient who is epidemiologically linked to a laboratory-confirmed case.

Invasive pneumococcal disease

Became a notifiable disease in 2001 and the definition has remained unchanged.

Polio

Notifications prior to 2004

Acute-onset flaccid paralysis of one or more limbs with decreased or absent tendon reflexes in the affected limbs without apparent cause, and without sensory or cognitive loss.

Rubella

Notifications prior to 2004
  • a) A generalised maculopapular rash, fever, and one or more of arthralgia/arthritis or lymphadenopathy or conjunctivitis, and an epidemiological link to a confirmed case

or

  • b) Demonstration of rubella-specific IgM antibody, except following vaccination

or

  • c) A fourfold or greater rise in rubella antibody titre between acute and convalescent phase sera obtained at least two weeks apart

or

  • d) Isolation of rubella virus from a clinical specimen.

Note: From July 2001 to July 2002, enhanced rubella surveillance was undertaken in Victoria leading to an increase in the specificity of notifications.312

Tetanus

Notifications prior to 2004

A clinically compatible illness without other apparent cause, with or without a history of injury, and with or without laboratory evidence of the organism or its toxin.

Document download

This publication is available as a downloadable document.

Vaccine Preventable Diseases and Vaccination Coverage in Australia, 2003 to 2005(PDF 1622 KB)