The information collected through the notifiable conditions surveillance system flows from local health jurisdictions to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and on to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For two reasons, this information is critical because:
- It enables public health agencies to act quickly to prevent the spread of disease and,
- it provides an overall picture of disease trends at the local, state and national levels.
These data summarize trends in notifiable communicable diseases reported by local health jurisdictions to DOH. Limitations to the accuracy of this information include sick people who do not seek healthcare, and healthcare providers and others who do not always recognize, confirm or report notifiable conditions. Reported cases often represent only a fraction of the actual burden of disease.