The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH)depends on healthcare providers, laboratories, day care centers, state institutions, and other facilities to report disease and conditions in order to protect the health of Philadelphians and our visitors.

Required by Law

Reporting of suspected or confirmed communicable diseases is mandated under Pennsylvania state law and Philadelphia city code. Physicians and laboratories have the primary responsibility for reporting. School nurses, day care centers, nursing homes, hospitals, state institutions, or other facilities providing health services are also required to report the listed diseases and conditions.


Law image from http://www.courts.phila.gov/traffic/

What Happens Once A Case Is Reported?

Once a case is reported, the PDPH Division of Disease Control performs the following tasks as needed:

  • Interviews cases and clinicians to:
    • Identify risk factors and other potential contacts.
    • Evaluate(s) if patients/contacts work in sensitive occupations or settings that may pose a public health concern (e.g. food handlers, daycare attendees).
    • Assess the need for preventive treatments such as antibiotics and vaccines.
  • Analyzes disease report data to determine important trends and recognize any emerging potential incidents of disease.
  • Develops disease guidance and infection control recommendation based on local disease trends and resources.
  • Coordinates specialized lab testing performed at the city, state or federal public health labs to confirm diagnoisis.
  • Sends health alerts to clinicians and public health official's regarding Philadelphia specific data and guidance for infectious disease situations of public health concern.