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Notifiable Diseases On-Line

Notifiable Disease Surveillance System

Nationally notifiable diseases (NND) are communicable diseases that have been identified by the federal government and all provinces and territories as priorities for monitoring and control efforts. You can explore the trends in cases and rates of nationally notifiable diseases since 1924 using the notifiable disease charts below. The national notifiable disease list is revised periodically and diseases that have been taken off the list can be reintroduced later if the status of the disease in Canada changes. Though in early years the decision to place a disease on the list relied on expert opinion, since 1987 these decisions have been based on federal/provincial/territorial consensus using set criteria[1]. Visit the list of nationally notifiable diseases to see all the diseases that have been notifiable, and the years for their notifiable status.

Case Definitions

Case definitions are the detailed descriptions used to identify cases of disease. Case definitions include the clinical signs and symptoms that define the appearance of the disease and the laboratory criteria for disease confirmation based on current national and international guidelines, literature review and diagnostic laboratory technology and practices.

Exploring Notifiable Diseases Data

General Notes

  • Cases reported can represent only a portion of all the cases in the population. Cases may not be reported for the following reasons:
    • Not all people will seek medical attention
    • Reporting of diagnosed cases is not complete
    • Diagnostic tests may result in a false negative
    • Interpretation of the characteristics of a disease may vary. This is particularly true prior to 1990, when the first national case definitions were produced.
    • Not all provinces or territories are able to report on all diseases in every year. Where a province or territory has not reported, it is noted in the limitations that appear with a selection. A province or territory not reporting does not necessarily mean that there have been no cases of the selected disease.
  • Additional limitations specific to the disease or time period selected are listed under the requested table/graph and are important for interpretation of the data shown.
  • Not all of the diseases that have ever been nationally notifiable are presented. Diseases have not been included when the period of notifiability was short, the disease is no longer notifiable and was rare during its period of notifiability, or completeness and/or consistency of reporting was poor.
  • Some diseases may fit into more than one of the 'groups' created. However, each disease is presented in one group only.
  • Age and sex breakdowns are available only from 1990 onwards
  • Only confirmed cases of disease are shown

How to Use Notifiable Diseases On-Line

This website provides data on national notifiable diseases including number and rates of reported cases, data limitations and disease descriptions. A graphical representation of the data is displayed based on the type of chart selected and on the parameters selected within each chart. The source data table, limitations of the data and descriptions for the selected notifiable disease(s) are also provided.

Careful consideration must be given when interpreting the data due to both limitations of the data and limitations of the chart functionality. It is also important to note when using the chart applications, some diseases may be marked in red. In the accessible version of this site, these diseases will be marked with 'N/A' in the tables. These are diseases where cases are either not reportable in the year selected or there has been no reporting from any province or territory in the year selected. Note no reporting does not necessarily mean that there have been no cases.

Notifiable Disease Charts

Diseases by Year, Moving Line Chart, 1924-2012

Displays a moving line chart where a single or multiple notifiable diseases (up to 6) may be selected. The chart can be a static display for all years (from 1924 up to 2012) or an animated moving line(s) displaying the selected disease(s) in 10 year blocks. The chart can represent either the number or rate of reported cases. The source data table, limitations of the data and descriptions for the selected notifiable disease(s) are also provided.

Disease by grouping - Pie Chart

Displays a pie chart with the relative contribution of each disease to all cases reported for the selected disease group. The chart is displayed by year (from 1991 up to 2012) and can be further broken down by age group and sex. The source data table, limitations of the data and descriptions for each notifiable disease(s) in a selected group are also provided.

Disease by year - Static Line Chart

Displays a static line chart where multiple notifiable diseases (up to 6) may be selected within any selected year range (from 1991 up to 2012) and by selecting either the number or rate of reported cases. The chart can be further broken down by age group and sex. The source data table, limitations of the data and descriptions for each notifiable disease(s) are also provided.

Single disease age and sex distribution by year - Stacked Bar Chart

Displays a stacked bar chart showing either the number or rate of reported cases of a single disease in any selected year (from 1991 up to 2012). Each bar represents a specific age group and is stacked to show sex breakdown within the age group. The source data table, limitations of the data and description of the selected notifiable disease are also provided.

Multiple disease age distribution by year - Bar Chart

Displays a bar chart showing either the number or rate of reported cases for a single disease or multiple diseases (up to 6) for any selected year (from 1991 up to 2012) and is displayed by age group. The source data table, limitations of the data and descriptions of the selected notifiable disease(s) are also provided.


[1] Carter A. National Advisory Committee on Epidemiology Subcommittee. Establishing goals, techniques and priorities for national communicable disease surveillance.
Can J Infect Dis 1991;2:37-40.