The Department of Public Health is  part HSE. It is divided into eight divisions covering Ireland.  It provides health protection services, advocates, contributed to health and participates in health service development.  Each section of the department is led by the Director of Public Health who is the regional Medical Officer of Health.

The Medial Officer of Health is responsible for investigating notifiable diseases and outbreaks under the Health Acts and the Infectious Disease Regulations.

Multidisciplinary groups in the Departments include a range of specialists including consultants in public health medicine, senior medical officers, specialists nurses, surveillance scientists, researchers, and project specialists.

The Department of Public Health implements Healthy Ireland, a framework for improved health and living published in 2013.  Its actions include

prevention of infections and endemics

protection from biological, chemical and radio nuclear health risks

response to incidents and disasters.

It reaches out to link high risk and hard to reach the people with needed services.  It conducts research into new innovative solutions.

Health Protection Services cover programmes for the safety of air quality working with the  Environmental Protection Agency, the Radiological Institute of Ireland, Met Eireann, Bord Gais and other institutions.  It works with Environmental Health Officers and the Environmental Protection Agency in relation to water services and the quality of drinking water.

There are obligations requiring various parties such as medical practitioners, and others in the Health Services and notified medial officer of health of certain infectious disease.  The Medical Officer of Health investigates the diseases and seeks to controls the risks associated with the outbreak.

Notifiable infectious diseases are notified to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

Certain classes of diseases must be notified including for example,

  • Disease Causative Pathogen
  • Acute anterior poliomyelitis Polio virus
  • Ano-genital warts Human papilloma virus
  • Anthrax Bacillus anthracis
  • Bacillus cereus food-borne infection/intoxication Bacillus cereus
  • Bacterial meningitis (not otherwise specified)
  • Botulism Clostridium botulinum
  • Brucellosis Brucella spp.
  • Campylobacter infection Campylobacter spp.
  • Carbapenemase producing Enterobacteriaceae, Carbapenemase producing Enterobacteriaceae,
  •  infection or colonisation infection or colonisation
  • Chancroid Haemophilus ducreyi
  • Chickenpox – hospitalised cases Varicella-zoster virus
  • Chikungunya disease Chikungunya virus
  • Chlamydia trachomatis infection (genital) Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Cholera Vibrio cholerae
  • Clostridium difficile infection Clostridium difficile
  • Clostridium perfringens (type A) food-borne disease Clostridium perfringens
  • COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2
  • Creutzfeldt Jakob disease
  • variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease
  • Cryptosporidiosis Cryptosporidium parvum, hominis
  • Cytomegalovirus infection (congenital) Cytomegalovirus
  • Dengue fever Dengue virus
  • Diphtheria Corynebacterium diphtheriae or ulcerans (toxin producing)
  • Echinococcosis Echinococcus spp.
  • Enterococcal bacteraemia Enterococcus spp. (blood)
  • Escherichia coli infection (invasive) Escherichia coli (blood, CSF)
  • Giardiasis Giardia lamblia
  • Gonorrhoea Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • Granuloma inguinale Klebsiella granulomatis
  • Haemophilus influenzae disease (invasive) Haemophilus influenzae (blood, CSF or other
  •  normally sterile site)
  • Hepatitis A (acute) infection Hepatitis A virus
  • Hepatitis B (acute and chronic) infection Hepatitis B virus
  • Hepatitis C infection Hepatitis C virus
  • Hepatitis E infection Hepatitis E virus
  • Herpes simplex (genital) Herpes simplex virus
  • Herpes simplex (neonatal) Herpes simplex virus
  • Human immunodeficiency virus infection Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Influenza Influenza A and B virus
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae infection (invasive) Klebsiella pneumoniae (blood or CSF)
  • Legionellosis Legionella spp.
  • Leprosy Mycobacterium leprae
  • Leptospirosis Leptospira spp.
  • Listeriosis Listeria monocytogenes
  • Lyme disease (neuroborreliosis) Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Lymphogranuloma venereum Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Malaria Plasmodium falciparum, vivax, knowlesi, ovale, malariae
  • mcr-positive Enterobacteriaceae infection mcr-positive Enterobacteriaceae infection
  •  or colonisation or colonisation
  • Disease Causative Pathogen
  • Measles Measles virus
  • Meningococcal disease Neisseria meningitidis
  • Mumps Mumps virus
  • Non-specific urethritis
  • Novel or Rare Antimicrobial-resistant
  •  Organism (NRAO)
  • Noroviral infection Norovirus
  • Paratyphoid Salmonella Paratyphi
  • Pertussis Bordetella pertussis
  • Plague Yersinia pestis
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection (invasive) Pseudomonas aeruginosa (blood or CSF)
  • Q Fever Coxiella burnetii
  • Rabies Rabies virus
  • Respiratory syncytial virus infection Respiratory syncytial virus
  • Rotavirus infection Rotavirus
  • Rubella Rubella virus
  • Salmonellosis Salmonella spp. other than S. Typhi and Paratyphi
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) SARS-associated coronavirus
  • Shigellosis Shigella spp.
  • Smallpox Variola virus
  • Staphylococcal food poisoning Enterotoxigenic Staphylococcus aureus
  • Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia Staphylococcus aureus (blood)
  • Streptococcus group A infection (invasive) Streptococcus pyogenes (blood, CSF or other
  •  normally sterile site)
  • Streptococcus group B infection (invasive) Streptococcus agalactiae (blood, CSF or other
  •  normally sterile site)
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae infection (invasive) Streptococcus pneumoniae (blood, CSF or other
  •  normally sterile site)
  • Syphilis Treponema pallidum
  • Tetanus Clostridium tetani
  • Toxoplasmosis Toxoplasma gondii
  • Trichinosis Trichinella spp.
  • Trichomoniasis Trichomonas vaginalis
  • Tuberculosis Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex
  • Tularemia Francisella tularensis
  • Typhoid Salmonella Typhi
  • Typhus Rickettsia prowazekii
  • Verotoxigenic Escherichia coli infection Verotoxin producing Escherichia coli
  • Viral encephalitis
  • Viral haemorrhagic fevers
  • Viral meningitis
  • West Nile fever West Nile virus
  • Yellow fever Yellow fever virus
  • Yersiniosis Yersinia enterocolitica, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis
  • Zika virus infection Zika virus
  • Public Health Departments provide certain of the expertise and support for the childhood and other immunisations program.
  • Public Health Departments prepare for public health threats involving potential harm to an exposed population which may reach crisis levels.  These include outbreaks of influenza, toxic fumes, explosions, water contamination, biological, radiological, radioactive releases, flooding et cetera.  They participate in emergency preparedness and planning. They contribute to the prevention of major emergencyies
  • The Public Health Divisions and the Public Health Service Protection Surveillance Centre seeks to provide early detection of risks.  This includes
  • reactions to notifiable diseases
  • assessing ng information on regional outbreaks
  •  surveillance of various sources,
  • enhanced surveillance of  particular risks, involved
  • liaison with colleagues in veterinary, marine, agricultural, environmental and other agencies.

The groups contribute to health improvement by

  • surveillance and monitoring of diseases,
  • advocating for decision-makers to carryout changes make for healthier choices,
  • health impact assessment of policies, programs and projects.

Public Health groups are involved in

  • child safety awareness program,
  • global health,
  • sexual health,
  • congenital anomally registers in Ireland
  • initiatives on obesity and overweight.
  • Public Health is involved in assessment of needs and health status. It  provides expert advice and service planning,promotion and reconfiguration.  It contributed to national clinical programmes and the national cancer control programme.

he Public Health laboratory is located in Dublin and supports diagnosis, prevention and control of infectious diseases and foodborne illnesses. It provides a range of microbiological services.  It is designated as an official EU food testing laboratory.


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Draft Articles; The articles on this website are in draft form and are subject to further review for typographical errors and, in some cases, updating and correction. It is intended to include references to the sources of materials and acknowledgements in the final version. The content of articles with [EU] in the title and some of the articles in the section on Agriculture are a reproduction of or are based on European or Irish public sector information.

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