Context: Surveillance is a key component of the core public health function of health assessment. Systematic reporting by health care professionals and laboratories, which may vary by state law, statute, or regulation, continues to provide essential data for assessing public health.
Objective: To describe the state and territorial reporting requirements for diseases and conditions recommended for national public health surveillance.
Design, setting, and participants: Between May and August 1997, the state and territorial epidemiologists from all 50 states, in addition to New York City, Puerto Rico, and Guam, completed questionnaires indicating which diseases and conditions were reportable by health care professionals and laboratories in their jurisdictions. The surveys were subsequently updated to reflect reporting requirements current as of January 1, 1999. The overall response rate for the survey was 100% for US states and 90% overall, including the territories.
Main outcome measure: State and territorial reporting requirements for diseases and conditions of public health concern.
Results: Of the 58 diseases and conditions recommended for national reporting, 35 (60%) were reportable in greater than 90% of the states and territories, 15 (26%) were reportable in 75% to 90%, and 8 (14%) were reportable in less than 75%. Nineteen of the infectious diseases were reportable in all of the states and territories that responded.
Conclusions: Required reporting varies substantially by state or territory. Health care professionals are integral to public health efforts at the local, state, and national levels.