Infection Control and iPHIS: Reporting of Communicable Diseases
Submitted by Joan Mays, CPHI(C), BASc
Supervisor of Health Protection Department
The Health Unit is involved in gathering and managing information on communicable diseases within the tri-county area.
Public Health Inspectors from the Department of Health Protection, Public Health Nurses from the Department of Clinical Services and Dr Charles Gardner worked together as the Infectious Diseases and Outbreak Control Team. The team works closely with Long Term Care and Retirement Homes, hospitals and health professionals in the tri-county in regards to infection control and infectious disease management. The team meets weekly for a brief review of outbreaks (respiratory and enteric) in the area and to discuss outstanding issues or cases related to outbreaks. The team is also responsible for organizing and presenting education sessions for infection control staff, health professionals and the public.
There are more than 80 infectious diseases that must be reported to the Health Unit, from the “foreign” haemorrhagic fevers like Ebola, to those infections more common in Ontario, such as meningitis and even more
frequent infections like influenza in the winter and various food and water illnesses year round.
To help health care professionals more effectively detect, monitor and manage information on outbreaks, Ontario has introduced iPHIS - Integrated Public Health Information System.
iPHIS is integrated, meaning that information is shared between health care professionals across the province. The new system will significantly increase the accuracy and quality of data and will improve how disease outbreaks are identified and managed.
Health Unit staff are working on infectious disease prevention and control for institutions and individuals and for the community - striving to keep Leeds, Grenville and Lanark a safe and healthy place to live and play.
The above graph shows a sample of the type of disease surveillance the Health Unit can now accomplish with access to this new program and the data from across the Province.