Emergency Law Inventory | Full Law Text

Law Number

Wis. Stat. 252.05

Summary Title

Liability: Reporting of Communicable Disease


Any individual who has knowledge of or reason to believe that another individual has a communicable disease must report that to a local health officer or local health department; if an individual fails to report, that individual can be charged with a crime.

Full Title

Reports of Cases

Full Text

(1) Any health care provider, as defined in s. 146.81 (1) (a) to (p), who knows or has reason to believe that a person treated or visited by him or her has a communicable disease, or having a communicable disease, has died, shall report the appearance of the communicable disease or the death to the local health officer. The health agency of a federally recognized American Indian tribe or band may report this information to the local health officer. The local health officer shall report this information to the department or shall direct the person reporting to report to the department. Any person directed to report shall submit this information to the department. (2) Each laboratory shall report as prescribed by the department those specimen results that indicate that an individual providing the specimen has a communicable disease, or having a communicable disease, has died, or that the department finds necessary for the surveillance, control, diagnosis, and prevention of communicable diseases. (3) Anyone having knowledge or reason to believe that any person has a communicable disease shall report the facts to the local health officer or to the department. (4) Reports under subs. (1) and (2) shall state so far as known the name, sex, age, and residence of the person, the communicable disease and other facts the department or local health officer requires. Report forms, including forms appropriate for reporting under s. 95.22, may be furnished by the department and distributed by the local health officer. (5) All reports shall be made within 24 hours, unless otherwise specified by the department, by telephone, telegraph, mail or electronic means or by deposit at the office of the local health officer. (6) Any local health officer, upon receiving a report, shall cause a permanent record of the report to be made and upon demand of the department transmit the original or a copy to the department, together with other information the department requires. The department may store these records as paper or electronic records and shall treat them as patient health care records under ss. 146.81 to 146.835. (7) When an outbreak or epidemic occurs, the local health officer shall immediately report to the department, and shall at all times keep the department informed of the prevalence of the communicable diseases in the locality in the manner and with the facts the department requires. (8) The department shall print and distribute, without charge, to all local health departments and, upon request, to health care providers and facilities a chart that provides information about communicable diseases. (9) Any person licensed, permitted, registered or certified under ch. 441 or 448 shall use ordinary skill in determining the presence of communicable diseases. If there is a dispute regarding disease determination, if the disease may have potential public health significance or if more extensive laboratory tests will aid in the investigation, the local health officer shall order the tests made by the state laboratory of hygiene or by a laboratory certified under 42 USC 263a. (11) If a violation of this section is reported to a district attorney by a local health officer or by the department, the district attorney shall forthwith prosecute the proper action, and upon request of the department, the attorney general shall assist.