Disease Reporting in Texas: What You Need to Do
By David Doolittle

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You’re most likely aware that you are required to report certain health conditions, diseases, and outbreaks – known as “reportable” or “notifiable” conditions. This helps local, state, and federal health officials to track and study those conditions.

But you might not be aware of all of the conditions you are required to report, or how, when, and to whom.

That’s understandable, because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) notifiable conditions list is pretty extensive: stretching from anthrax to Zika and plenty of conditions in between (including carbon monoxide poisoning, measles, rabies, tetanus, and toxic shock syndrome, to name just a few).

Furthermore, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) maintains its own list of confirmed or suspected notifiable conditions, and it has the authority to mandate reporting for new or emerging diseases.

And, of course, each condition has specific reporting timelines: Some are required immediately, others should be reported within one working day, others must within one week.

So what exactly are you supposed to report, and to whom, and how?

Let’s start with whom: You should report to your local or regional health department. However, if your county doesn’t have a local health department, send reports  to DSHS.

As far as what, when, and how, thankfully, DSHS' website includes general instructions on reporting notifiable conditions in Texas, including special instructions for HIV/AIDS and other notifiable sexually transmitted diseases.

As always, check out the Texas Medical Association website for more information on public health in Texas.

If you have any other questions, email the TMA Knowledge Center or call (800) 880-7955 from 8:15 am to 5:15 pm (CT) Monday through Friday.

Last Updated On

August 23, 2019

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David Doolittle

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Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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