Health & Safety Department

Communicable (Infectious) Diseases

Information on communicable diseases and what procedures to follow if there is an outbreak at the University

With a staff and student population of over 50,000, it is likely that on occasion the University will be made aware of a communicable disease within our community. 

Communicable diseases are those that are transmissible from one person, or animal, to another, and which can cause ill health. 

It is important that those with, or suspect they may have, a communicable disease take common sense steps to look after their own health, seek advice from their G.P., and take steps to prevent or minimise further spread of the disease to others. 

Public Health England publish an extensive list of communicable diseases which is available at

Some common communicable (infectious) diseases in the UK include measles, mumps, rubella, meningococcal, chicken pox, whooping cough, tuberculosis, scarlet fever, flu and the common cold.

Some communicable diseases require to be reported by medical practitioners (Doctor, G.P) to their local Health Protection Team, and so for some of the more serious communicable diseases, the Health Protection team at NHS Lothian will play a leading role in managing the situation to help prevent or minimise further spread of the disease.

If you think you have an infectious disease

If you are concerned that you may have contracted an infectious disease then you should NOT attend work or university and should minimise contact with others, and advice should be sought from your GP by telephone.  If it’s after 5pm call NHS24 on 111.

Medical/Nursing students must not attend placements in healthcare premises if they think they have an infectious disease but should seek advice from their GP and inform their course organiser.

If you need to check your immunisation status you should contact your own GP practice.

Information on Registering with a Doctor (General Practitioner) in Scotland 

You need to register with a General Practitioner (GP) when you arrive in the UK. Do not wait until you are ill or require treatment to register.  Registering with a GP is easy and free.

Register with a doctor

New to Lothian? Know who you can turn to for healthcare

Further Information

The University has advice available on some of the more common communicable diseases available below, and the NHS website contains information on a much wider range of infectious diseases.