As of May 21, 2019, a total of 10 laboratory-confirmed cases of measles were reported in Ontario1.
Under Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotions Act, s25 (HPPA), in the course of providing professional services, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are required to report if they believe a patient may have a disease of public health significance such as measles. Previously called “reportable diseases” (prior to May 1 2018), these include communicable and virulent diseases, and are listed in Ontario Regulation 135/18. The public health system depends upon this information as the basis for preventing the spread of disease and to promote/protect the health of Ontarians.
Pharmacy professionals who form the opinion that a patient has or may have a disease of public health significance must report this information to their region’s public health unit as soon as possible. As health information custodians, disclosure of personal health information is permitted for these purposes per the HPPA and Personal Health Information Protection Act, s39 (PHIPA).
Community pharmacists and technicians should know how to contact the Medical Officer of Health in their region and are advised to visit the website of the local public health unit. A list of all Public Health Units in Ontario can be found at: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/common/system/services/phu/locations.aspx.
Hospital pharmacists and technicians should be familiar with the hospital policy and procedure, including the expectation of pharmacists, if any, for reporting diseases of public health significance for inpatients and outpatients.
Pharmacy professionals are encouraged to collaborate with the patient’s primary physician or nurse practitioner to ensure reporting requirements and timelines are met.