Requirements for the reporting of unexplained critical illness or death were instituted in December of 2000. Since then, DOH has received 0 to 6 reports annually. The most common clinical syndromes reported are central nervous system (meningitis, encephalitis), respiratory, and sepsis/multi-organ failure.
It is important that clinicians report unusual disease occurrences or deaths to their local health jurisdictions even before they have completed a laboratory investigation.
Purpose of Reporting and Surveillance
- To identify emerging pathogens in Washington State
- To raise the index of suspicion of a possible bioterrorism event
- To recognize critical illnesses or deaths with potential public health impact
Note: Public health resources cannot support the work to diagnose all cases of unexplained critical illness or death.
Legal Reporting Requirements
- Health care providers: notifiable to local health jurisdiction within 24 hours
- Health care facilities: notifiable to local health jurisdiction within 24 hours
- Laboratories: no requirements for reporting
- Local health jurisdictions: notifiable to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) Communicable Disease Epidemiology (CDE) within 7 days of case investigation completion or summary information required within 21 days