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What Happens When an Infectious Disease is Reported

Doctor on phone


To control the spread of disease San Francisco Department of Public Health maintains a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, telephone reporting line to respond to clinician infectious disease reports. There are over 90 legally reportable diseases and conditions in San Francisco. Certain critical diseases must be reported immediately to the Department of Public Health while others require same day notification or notification within one week.


After we receive an infectious disease report we commence the following activities to protect the health of San Franciscans and our visitors.




  • Case Investigation. Interview cases and clinicians to identify risk factors and other potential contacts. Evaluate patients/contacts in sensitive occupations or settings that may pose a public health concern (e.g. food handlers, daycare attendees, health care workers or employees of group residential facilities).
  • Source Investigation. Conduct an epidemiologic investigation to identify the source of infection and how it is being spread.
  • Lab Testing. Provide guidance on obtaining lab tests to confirm diagnosis. Facilitate approvals for obtaining specialized tests performed at city, state, or federal public health labs.


Infection Control


  • Recommendations. Work with infection control practitioners to recommend measures to control and prevent the spread of disease in health care settings.
  • Information & Education. Provide information to cases, contacts, and the general public to prevent and control the spread of disease in community settings. In the event of an infectious disease emergency provide continued infection control guidance and recommendations.
  • State & National Notification. Coordinate notification of state and national health officials as necessary.


Treatment Recommendations


  • Post-exposure & Preventive Treatment. Assess the need for and recommend preventive treatments such as antibiotics and vaccines. In case of mass exposure to a treatable infectious agent, activate the local system for providing mass treatment and/or prophylaxis.


Communication with Clinicians


  • Health Alerts. Send Health Alerts, Advisories, and Updates to clinicians regarding infectious disease situations of public health concern.
  • Analysis of Surveillance Data. Analyze and disseminate public health surveillance data to clinicians and the general public.


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