Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia
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Rule 511-2-1-.01 Definitions

(a) "Clinical materials" means a patient specimen taken for the purpose of identifying a suspected agent of disease, a clinical isolate derived from such a specimen, nucleic acid, or other laboratory material taken or created for the purpose of identifying a suspected agent of disease.
(b) "Cluster" means an unusual aggregation of cases, real or perceived, of a disease or condition that are grouped together in time or space. A cluster will be redefined as an outbreak if a geographic or temporal excess in the expected number of cases and an association between the disease or condition and an exposure can be established.
(c) "Department" means the Georgia Department of Public Health.
(d) "Exposure" means proximity to or contact with a source of a disease agent in such a manner that effective transmission of the agent or harmful effects of the agent may occur.
(e) "Notifiable disease" means an illness, condition, or disability listed on the Department's current official roster of notifiable diseases and conditions, as it may be revised from time to time.
(f) "Outbreak" means an exposure that results in a higher number of cases of a disease or condition than would be expected within a defined community, geographical area, or time period. If the disease or condition is rare or has serious public health implications, a single case may be considered an outbreak.
(g) "Person" means any individual, firm, partnership, association, corporation, the State or any municipality or other subdivision thereof, or any other entity whether organized for profit or not.
(h) "Reporter" means a licensed physician, clinical laboratory, or the chief administrative officer or a designee thereof of a hospital, nursing home, clinic, health maintenance organization, university health service, primary health care center, or institution such as a school, day care center, mental health hospital, or detention facility.

Rule 511-2-1-.02 Duty to Report Notifiable Diseases and Conditions

(1) It shall be the duty of every reporter to promptly notify the Department upon discovering an actual or suspected case of a notifiable disease. Reports may be made through the State Electronic Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (SendSS), by telephone, by letter, or by completing and transmitting forms provided by the Department.
(2) Outbreaks or unusual clusters of disease, whether infectious or noninfectious, must be reported promptly to the local county health department or to the Department.
(3) The Department shall determine which diseases and conditions require notice, and shall publish an official roster of said notifiable diseases and conditions on its website. The official roster of notifiable diseases and conditions may contain instructions requiring a reporter to forward to the Department any clinical materials found to contain an agent of a notifiable disease. Each county health department shall be responsible for making the current notifiable disease roster available to local reporters, and for providing guidance and assistance on their reporting duties.
(4) Upon special request by the Department, a reporter shall provide information or clinical materials which indicate the presence of diseases or conditions of public health significance, such as newly recognized infectious agents, antimicrobial resistant infections such as those caused by carbapenem resistant enterobacteriacae, deaths or critical illness from suspected infectious agents, alcohol/drug abuse, birth defects, cancer, heart attack, stroke, injuries, poisonings and occupational diseases.
(5) Upon special request by the Department, a reporter shall provide additional information to the Department concerning patients for whom they have submitted clinical materials, and to provide additional clinical materials when so requested for the purpose of providing complete laboratory confirmation of cases having public health importance, if the condition and circumstances of the patient permit.
(6) Clinical laboratories shall retain all reports of notifiable disease for two years from the date of the report. Clinical laboratories shall retain clinical materials containing an agent of a notifiable disease for at least one week from the date of the report, and shall send said materials to the Department for further testing upon request or as directed in the official roster of notifiable diseases and conditions.
(7) Information concerning the occurrence or probable occurrence of any notifiable disease and condition which comes to the attention of any county health department shall be promptly transmitted to the Department.

Rule 511-2-1-.03 Confidentiality

(a) The following records shall be deemed confidential and shall not be subject to public inspection: all reports submitted to a county health department or to the Department pursuant to this Chapter; all information requested or collected as part of an outbreak or cluster investigation, subject to the exceptions described in subparagraph (b) of this Rule; all identifiable Georgia Discharge Data System data; and all information identified as "non-public" and received from the U. S. Food and Drug Administration.
(b) When an outbreak or cluster investigation is concluded, the Department's Final Report may be made public, provided that it contains no personally identifiable data. When an outbreak or cluster investigation is expected to last more than ninety days, the Department may prepare one or more Interim Reports. Such Interim Reports may be made public, provided that they contain no personally identifiable data.

Rule 511-2-1-.04 Liability

Any person, including but not limited to practitioners of the healing arts, who in good faith submits reports or data to the Department or to a county health department pursuant to the provisions of this Chapter shall not be liable for any civil damages therefor.

Rule 511-2-1-.05 Reporting of Pediatric Asthma Deaths

(a) It shall be the duty of every physician, coroner, and medical examiner that attends or examines the remains of a patient under the age of 18 years old in circumstances indicating that asthma was or may have been the cause of or a contributing factor to death to report that death to the Department. It is the intent of this Rule that only one report shall be made for a particular patient, and there shall be no duty to report if a complete and accurate report has already been made by another physician, coroner, or medical examiner who has examined the patient.
(b) Reports shall be made to the Department within ten days of death or examination, through an online portal set up for that purpose.

Rule 511-2-1-.06 Reports to the Department of Community Health

(a) When the Department receives a report of a notifiable disease or an outbreak or cluster of disease identified in a health care facility licensed or permitted by the Department of Community Health ("DCH"), it shall be the duty of the Department to notify DCH if the disease is clinically severe or is typically associated with high morbidity or mortality.
(b) The Department shall further notify DCH if a health care facility licensed or permitted by DCH fails or refuses to comply with the Department's public health recommendations.