Communicable Disease Control Manual 2012

Published online: 
30 May 2012
Communicable Disease Control Manual.

The Communicable Disease Control Manual 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 primary purpose of the manual is to describe the standard practice that public health services would normally follow in regard to the prevention and control of notifiable diseases (specific communicable diseases that are required to be notified by medical practitioners and laboratories under the Health Act 1956 and Tuberculosis Act 1948).

Most of the information is contained within disease-specific chapters. This includes case definitions and laboratory tests required for case confirmation. Some important general considerations are outlined below, and in the appendices.

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).

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Enteric diseases

In December 2017 a number of changes were made to the enteric chapters, in particular to the case definitions, clinical description and laboratory test for diagnosis sections.

The key changes are:

  • case definitions
  • clinical description
  • to reflect changes in diagnostic testing methods, changes have been made to the laboratory test for diagnosis section
  • case classification
  • appendix 1, 2 and 3 have amendments to legislation requirements and table 2.4: Exclusions and clearance criteria.


In December 2017 an updated Pertussis chapter (pdf, 200 KB) was published. The key changes include:

  • updated objectives of surveillance for pertussis in the epidemiology in New Zealand section
  • clinical description changes to ‘A clinically compatible case characterised by a cough and one or more of paroxysms of cough; cough ending in vomiting, cyanosis or apnoea; inspiratory whoop’
  • case classification for ‘Probable’ changed to: ‘A clinically compatible illness where the cough is lasting longer than 2 weeks’
  • exclusion of cases can be shortened to 2 days if azithromycin is used
  • susceptible contacts should be given prophylaxis and not excluded while taking prophylaxis as long as they don’t have symptoms.


In November 2017 an updated Mumps chapter (pdf, 177 KB) was published. The key changes include:

  • updated epidemiology of mumps in New Zealand
  • removal of fever as a requirement to meet the case definition
  • prioritisation of MMR immunisation as a public health response
  • limiting contact tracing to particular settings where people are likely to be highly vulnerable (for example in health care settings), or settings were further transmission is likely to occur (for example secondary and tertiary education settings)
  • avoiding serological testing to identify susceptible contacts, instead relying on documented evidence of MMR immunisation (or evidence of previous mumps disease).


In August 2017, an updated chapter on Poliomyelyitis (pdf, 183 KB) was published.

Invasive pneumococcal disease

In October 2016, an updated Invasive pneumococcal disease chapter (pdf, 159 KB) was published to include changes to the case definition and section on laboratory tests for diagnosis.


In July 2016, an updated Legionellosis chapter (PDF, 56 KB) was published. The key changes in the new chapter are to the clinical description of infection and the section on laboratory tests for diagnosis.

Middle East respiratory syndrome

The Middle East respiratory syndrome chapter that was published in February 2015 has been superseded by the information for health professionals at Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus.

Rheumatic fever

In December 2014, an updated Rheumatic Fever chapter (PDF, 197 KB) was published. The key changes in the new chapter are:

  • the removal of the requirement to notify Rheumatic Heart Disease under the age of 20
  • alignment of the case definitions to be consistent with the New Zealand Heart Foundation Guidelines and the EpiSurv case report form
  • the removal of the information relating to group A Streptococcus (GAS) to focus the chapter on Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF)
  • the contact tracing section has been updated
  • adding information on the notification of cases and the use of registers.


In September 2014, a revised Polio Response Plan (PDF, 117 KB) was published by the Ministry of Health. While this chapter and the Plan agree in most respects, in any areas of variance the Response Plan takes precedence.

Related publications

Publishing information

  • Date of publication:
    30 May 2012
  • ISBN:
    978-0-478-36622-8 (online)
  • HP number:
  • Citation:
    Ministry of Health. 2012. Communicable Disease Control Manual 2012. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
  • Ordering information:
    Only soft copy available to download
  • Copyright status:
    Owned by the Ministry of Health and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.
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