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When someone is diagnosed with a communicable disease, such as tuberculosis, HIV or another sexually transmitted disease, a health department may be required or permitted by law to take action to prevent the further spread of the disease. In some cases, this can include reporting the case to a local health department and notifying, testing and treating individuals who may have come into contact with the patient who was initially diagnosed.

This interactive page provides information about the state laws and regulations that dictate how and to what extent a health department may intervene when communicable diseases appear in their jurisdiction. This page identifies whether a health department may act on the suspicion of a communicable disease case, or whether they must have evidence, such as an official diagnosis from a doctor or other health care provider. This page also identifies whether the state or local health department is required to act, and what actions they are permitted to take when intervening. This page is updated through July 2013. 

Related Resources 

LawAtlas Interactive Map: Provider Immunity

LawAtlas Interactive Map: Limits on 3rd Party Billing

Insurance Billing for Sensitive Health Services Report


This project is supported by Cooperative Agreement Number 93.283 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or NNPHI.

Did you know?

Twenty-three states have laws that allow health departments to release information for purposes related to disease prevention and control.

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Map Legend: State Included in research.