Much of the surveillance of communicable disease in New Zealand is underpinned by the legal requirement – under the Health Act 1956 and Tuberculosis Act 1948 – for medical practitioners, and laboratories that handle human specimens, to notify named diseases. The primary purpose of this notification system is to prompt public health action to manage the case and reduce risk.

The Communicable Disease Control Manual aims to assist this objective; specifically, it seeks to inform and assist those at the frontline of public health action, namely the medical officers of health, health protection officers and staff at public health units. The purpose of the manual is to provide national protocols that describe the standard practice public health services would normally follow in the prevention and control of notifiable communicable diseases.

Actions, policies and legislation for preventing and controlling communicable diseases develop and change with time. This manual has to keep pace with such changes, and for this reason it is now being published electronically and as a series of individual chapters, one for each disease. This will allow for individual disease chapters to be reviewed and updated separately in accordance with new evidence and best practice. This edition of the manual follows the format of earlier editions with some considered adjustments to content in addition to long-awaited updates. It includes references and electronic links to other guidelines and material for those requiring more detail.

The manual should be used in conjunction with other best practice guidelines, including the Immunisation Handbook. Users are also encouraged to supplement the content of this manual with existing evidence-based effective practices at their local level and to bring such practices forward for broader consideration and possible incorporation into standard procedures at a national level. Similarly, while the protocols set out in the manual reflect normal expectations, there will be circumstances from time to time that may require adaptation based on the professional judgement of the local medical officer of health (for example, in a significant outbreak or epidemic).

I hope you find this manual a valuable tool in assisting your work.

Mark Jacobs
Director of Public Health


The revision of the Communicable Disease Control Manual has been a significant undertaking over a long time, with a number of people providing valuable input. Particular thanks must go to the individuals, predominantly medical officers of health, who reviewed (more than once) the content of the manual. Thanks also to current and past Ministry of Health staff who were involved, especially the communicable disease and immunisation teams and the Office of the Director of Public Health; also to staff at ESR, and to all other individuals in the health sector and other agencies that contributed.

The revision of this manual has included input from many people, including the following:

  • Alison Roberts
  • Alistair Humphrey
  • Andrew Lindsay
  • Andrea Forde
  • Andrea McNeil
  • Andrew Forsyth
  • Anita Bell
  • Ann Sears
  • Annette Nesdale
  • Brad Novak
  • Bronwen Wall
  • Bruce Adlam
  • Bruce Duncan
  • Cameron Grant
  • Caroline McElnay
  • Cathy Pikholz
  • Cheryl Brunton
  • Chris Hewison
  • Chris Millar
  • Chris Wong
  • Clair Mills
  • Colin Charan
  • Craig Thornley
  • Daniel Williams
  • Darren Hunt
  • David Murdoch
  • Dell Hood
  • Derek Bell
  • Don Bandaranayake
  • Donald Campbell
  • Felicity Dumble
  • Fran McGrath
  • Frances Graham
  • Geoffrey Roche
  • Grant Storey
  • Ingrid Hamilton
  • Jenny Wong
  • Jill McKenzie
  • Jill Sherwood
  • Jim Miller
  • John Holmes
  • Jonathan Jarman
  • Kerry Sexton
  • Lester Calder
  • Louise Delany
  • Margot McLean
  • Marion Poore
  • Mark Jacobs
  • Martin Bonne
  • Martin Pollock
  • Martin Reeve
  • Nikki Turner
  • Oz Mansoor
  • Pat Short
  • Patrick O’Conner
  • Peter Mitchell
  • Phil Carter
  • Phil Shoemack
  • Ramon Pink
  • Richard Everts
  • Richard Hoskins
  • Rosemary Ikram
  • Ryan McLane
  • Simon Baker
  • Sonya Briggs
  • Stephanie Jones
  • Sue Huang
  • Terry Quirke
  • Tomasz Kiedrzynski
  • Vikki Cheer