Saint Louis University Journal of Health Law & Policy

Document Type



Law plays an important role in the collection of data related to disease and injury in a population. A robust system of laws sets out requirements for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of disease reporting data from local, state, territorial, and federal public health institutions. Occurrence of disease, including outbreaks of novel infectious agents like coronaviruses, influenza viruses, and others that have arisen in recent years, often require epidemiologists and others to understand not only the etiology and specific context of diseases and conditions, but also the trajectory of their spread among and across communities. Capturing sociodemographic data is critical to identifying the disproportionate impacts of diseases and conditions on diverse populations and determining an appropriate public health response. This Article discusses a legal epidemiological scan of state disease reporting laws that require the capture and reporting of sociodemographic information. Analyzing these state laws can serve as a potential starting point to assist in understanding why gaps in data exist and can help address these challenges in anticipation of future disease outbreaks or spread.