New York State Department of Health Bureau of Communicable Disease Control Tuberculosis Case Report Cards

Held by the New York State Archives

Overview of the Records


New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

State law required all physicians to notify the State Department of Health about specific cases of infectious, contagious, or communicable disease. This series consists of personal (name, sex, color/race, birth date or age, marital status, occupation, address) and medical data about victims of tuberculosis reported by physicians throughout the state. Medical data includes lab results; diagnosis (extent, activity, or change in diagnosis); reporting doctor's name and address; hospital name; and admitting and discharge dates. Records are restricted pursuant to state and federal laws.
13 cubic feet (approximately 61,000 cards) (71 microfilm rolls)
Inclusive Dates:
Bulk Dates:
(bulk 1951-1975)
Series Number:


Arranged by Soundex alpha-numeric code.

Scope and Content Note

The cards in this series record personal and medical data about thousands of victims of tuberculosis as reported by physicians throughout the state to the Department of Health. Data on the pre-printed cards (which measure 3.5" x 5.5") are entered primarily in typescript. The series also includes a small amount of manuscript notes affixed to individual cards, typically labeling cases as not reportable ("suspect" or "questionable") or inactive. Other notes give notice of release from a hospital, a change of diagnosis, or receipt of related correspondence, sometimes signed and/or dated by a doctor or other health official.

The records were generated pursuant to Section 25 of the Public Health Law (Chapter 25 of the Consolidated Laws of 1909, formerly Chapter 49 of the Laws of 1909), which required all physicians to give notice immediately of every case of "infectious and contagious or communicable" disease on which the Department of Health required reporting. The commissioner of health has authority to quarantine individuals exposed to disease, and the Division of Communicable Diseases used the information for epidemiological investigations, statistical analysis and reporting, and planning.

Physicians sent a case report for each individual diagnosed as actively tubercular to the patient's city or county health office. The office transferred information from the card to a Tuberculosis Case and Contact Register, and, for new cases, to an Initial Case and Contact Investigation Report. Until 1954, reports were sent next to the individual's district tuberculosis hospital. The case report card was then forwarded to the State Bureau (formerly Division) of Tuberculosis Control. The central office compiled statistics on diagnoses and case distribution from the cards. It maintained the case reports in a central file, with all those for one individual kept together.

Personal data recorded on the cards consist of: the patient's name; sex; color/race (until 1974); date of birth and/or age; marital status (from 1957); occupation; current address; and former address.

The Soundex alpha-numeric filing code and residence district (town, city, or village and state health district) are noted at the top left and right corners, respectively. If the patient was hospitalized, the hospital name and admission date are either given as the current address or noted at the top left (until 1974, when the information became a labelled data element).

The case report form was revised in 1952, 1957, 1962, and 1974 to incorporate new clinical terminology. Medical data recorded on the cards include: laboratory or sputum examination results (with checkoffs for specimen type and method); diagnosis, specifying the extent (minimal, moderately advanced, far advanced) and activity (active, undetermined, arrested) of the disease; reporting doctor's name and address; date of report; date of receipt of report at health department offices (often stamped on the verso); and district health officer's signature (sometimes). Some cards are stamped in red "NOT ENT." This may refer to ear, nose, and throat involvement or some other unidentified treatment.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

Restricted by New York Public Health Law sect. 18 and New York Code of Rules and Regulations part 10, sect. 50-4; by New York Freedom of Information Law (Public Officers Law Art. 6) sect. 87.2(b); by New York Personal Privacy Protection Law (Public Officers Law Art. 6-A) sect. 96; by New York Public Health Law sect. 2221; and by the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Acct (HIPAA), 42 U.S. Code sect. 1320d-6, and -7.

Alternate Formats Available

This series has been microfilmed on 71 rolls. Microfilm is not available through inter-library loan.

Related Information

Other finding aids

Container list, microfilm roll list, and explanation of the Soundex Coding System are available at the repository.

Access Terms

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