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Summary of Notifiable Diseases, United States, 1993.

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As of January 1, 1994, 49 infectious diseases were designated as notifiable at the national level. A notifiable disease is one for which regular, frequent, and timely information on individual cases is considered necessary for the prevention and control of the disease. This section briefly summarizes the history of national notifiable disease reporting in the United States. In 1878, Congress authorized the U.S. Public Health Service PHS to collect morbidity reports on cholera, smallpox, plague, and yellow fever from U.S. consuls overseas this information was to be used for instituting quarantine measures to prevent the introduction and spread of these diseases into the United States. In 1879, a specific Congressional appropriation was made for the collection and publication of reports of these notifiable diseases. The authority for weekly reporting and publication was expanded by Congress in 1893 to include data from states and municipal authorities. To increase the uniformity of the data, Congress enacted a law in 1902 directing the Surgeon General to provide forms for the collection and compilation of data and for the publication of reports at the national level. In 1912, state and territorial health authorities-in conjunction with PHS-recommended weekly telegraphic reporting of five infectious diseases and monthly reporting by letter of 10 additional diseases. The first annual summary of The Notifiable Diseases in 1912 included reports of 10 diseases from 19 states, D.C., and Hawaii. By 1928, all states, the D.C., Hawaii, and Puerto Rico were participating in national reporting of nearly 30 specified conditions. At their meeting in 1950, the State and Territorial Health Officers authorized a conference of state epidemiologists whose purpose was to determine which diseases should be reported to PHS. CDC assumed responsibility for the collection and publication of data on nationally notifiable diseases in 1961.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research

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