Communicable diseases are illnesses that can spread from person to person or from an animal to a person. These diseases can spread through a variety of ways, and common types of communicable diseases include foodborne illnesses, sexually transmitted diseases, insect-borne illnesses and vaccine-preventable diseases.
Clay County Public Health Center’s Epidemiology Program follows up on reports of communicable diseases in Clay County and helps to prevent these illnesses from spreading in the community. The Epidemiology Program also conducts communicable disease surveillance.
In public health, surveillance is the continuous collection and interpretation of health data to help serve as an early-warning to help prevent the spread of illness in the community. Currently, the Epidemiology Program has four surveillance systems and conducts a yearly report summary:
- School Syndromic Surveillance: Information collected on the symptoms children in schools are experiencing to track trends in the community.
- Daycare Syndromic Surveillance: Information collected on the symptoms children in daycares are experiencing to track trends in the community.
- ESSENCE Surveillance: Emergency room data monitored by the primary symptoms reported.
- Influenza Surveillance: Tracked confirmed cases of influenza in Clay County.
- Annual Communicable Diseases Summary Report
Communicable diseases have a significant burden on the health of Clay County residents. In 2015, nearly 6,000 Clay County residents visited the emergency room due to communicable diseases. Fortunately, there are many ways the public can protect themselves and others from communicable diseases, including getting recommended vaccinations, washing your hands after using the restroom or touching anything. See here for more information about prevention and control of communicable diseases.
The number of inpatient hospitalizations due to communicable diseases has been increasing in the last five years. In 2015, there were 2,301 inpatient hospitalizations due to infections (MICA Inpatient Hospitalizations, 2015).