This study assess whether state reporting laws for novel H1N1 influenza and emerging infections impact the ability of public health to collect data elements on individual cases; whether state reporting laws for novel H1N1 influenza and emerging infections impact the ability of public health to develop recommendations for disease prevention, control, and treatment, and the effect of “home rule” in a state’s infectious disease reporting structure on the state’s ability to develop such recommendations.

Infectious disease reporting is the foundation for public health’s core functions in infectious disease prevention and control. Novel H1N1 influenza provides a critical example of the difference in states’ ability to promptly gather relevant data on a disease of national importance.