Notification of infectious diseases

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If a vessel is on an international voyage and intends to enter a port, it is important that it is clear whether there is a patient with an infectious disease on board.

When the master of the vessel suspects that there are one or more patients on board with an infectious disease, he must report this to the Harbour Coordination Centre (tel. +31 (0)10 252 1000) as well as the pilot as soon as possible. This is in accordance with the Public Health Act. The Harbour Coordination Centre will coordinate the steps to take.

Since March 2020, it is mandatory for every seagoing vessel to submit a Maritime Declaration of Health (MDOH) regardless of the health situation on board. In the port of Rotterdam and Amsterdam, the MDOH must be submitted via the Port Community System of Portbase as of 1 September 2021.

Criteria

The WHO advises masters to notify in case of the following criteria:

Fever, persisting for several days, whether or not in combination with:

  • Fatigue
  • Decreased consciousness
  • Glandular swelling
  • Jaundice
  • Cough or shortness of breath
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Paralysis

One of the symptoms below, with or without fever:

  • Any skin rash or eruption
  • Severe vomiting (other than sea sickness)
  • Severe diarrhoea
  • Epileptic seizures

(source: Maritime Declaration of Health)

Employees in the port of Rotterdam

In case a pilot, agent, employee of the customs, port police, military police or patrol vessels of the Harbour Master or any other employee in the port of Rotterdam, perceives signs that a patient with an infectious disease is on board of a vessel, he/she should ask the vessel to contact the Harbour Coordination Centre. In addition, the above-mentioned employees can also discuss signals regarding infectious diseases themselves with the HCC. The HCC will forward the question to the right partners within the Port Health Authority.

Physicians working in the port of Rotterdam

In addition to the general practitioners working in the port of Rotterdam, there are also many physicians working as company doctors for specific companies. These physicians are requested to notify the Harbour Coordination Centre in case of a suspected notifiable infectious disease. Moreover, according to the Dutch Public Health Act, these physicians are obliged to contact the Municipal Public Health Services Rotterdam-Rijnmond in case of a notifiable infectious disease.