Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 32.1. Health
Chapter 2. Disease Prevention and Control
6/16/2019

§ 32.1-36. Reports by physicians and laboratory directors.

A. Every physician practicing in this Commonwealth who shall diagnose or reasonably suspect that any patient of his has any disease required by the Board to be reported and every director of any laboratory doing business in this Commonwealth that performs any test whose results indicate the presence of any such disease shall make a report within such time and in such manner as may be prescribed by regulations of the Board. Any such report involving a disease that such physician or laboratory director has reason to believe may be caused by exposure to an agent or substance that has been or may be used as a weapon shall be reported directly to the Commissioner or his designee using an emergency response system maintained by the Department and operated twenty-four hours a day.

B. Any physician who diagnoses a venereal disease in a child twelve years of age or under shall, in addition to the requirements of subsection A hereof, report the matter, in accordance with the provisions of § 63.2-1509, unless the physician reasonably believes that the infection was acquired congenitally or by a means other than sexual abuse.

C. Any physician practicing in this Commonwealth shall report to the local health department the identity of any patient of his who has tested positive for exposure to human immunodeficiency virus as demonstrated by such test or tests as are approved by the Board for this purpose. However, there is no duty on the part of the physician to notify any third party other than the local health department of such test result, and a cause of action shall not arise from any failure to notify any other third party.

D. Upon investigation by the local health department of a patient reported pursuant to subsection A, the Commissioner may, to the extent permitted by law, disclose the patient's identity and disease to the patient's employer if the Commissioner determines that (i) the patient's employment responsibilities require contact with the public and (ii) the nature of the patient's disease and nature of contact with the public constitutes a threat to the public health.

The patient's identity and disease state shall be confidential as provided in §§ 32.1-36.1 and 32.1-41. Any unauthorized disclosure of reports made pursuant to this section shall be subject to the penalties of § 32.1-27.

E. Physicians and laboratory directors may voluntarily report additional information at the request of the Department of Health for special surveillance or other epidemiological studies.

F. 1. Every laboratory located in this Commonwealth shall file a written report with the Department of its inventory of dangerous microbes and pathogens on an annual basis. The laboratory shall supplement this report upon any change in such inventory as prescribed by the Board or immediately if any microbes or pathogens cannot be accounted for within twenty-four hours.

2. Except as provided in this subsection, a report submitted pursuant to this subsection shall be confidential and shall not be a public record pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.). The Department shall cooperate with and may share information submitted to it pursuant to this subsection with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and federal law-enforcement agencies in any investigation involving the release, theft or loss of a dangerous microbe or pathogen required to be reported under this subsection.

3. Any unauthorized disclosure of reports made pursuant to this subsection shall be subject to the penalties of § 32.1-27.

Code 1950, § 32-48; 1976, c. 628; 1979, c. 711; 1981, c. 282; 1988, c. 130; 1989, c. 613; 1995, c. 534; 1997, c. 271; 2002, cc. 100, 768.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.