A communicable disease is defined as “any disease that can be passed from one person or animal to another, either directly through body fluids or discharge, or indirectly through surfaces, substances or vectors like flies or mosquitoes.”
Some examples of communicable diseases include influenza, mumps, chickenpox, hepatitis A and tuberculosis (TB).
TB is a chronic infection caused by bacterium that usually settles in the lungs. It is spread by droplets when an infected person coughs on another person. The Webster County Health Unit carefully monitors TB cases in the county and provides case management to those affected by the illness.
Because there are many communicable diseases present in our society today, the Health Unit participates in active surveillance to track diseases and their spread.
When a communicable disease is reported to the Health Unit, staff follow up with personal contact to the affected person. They try to find out how the illness might have been acquired and who else may be at risk of developing the disease. Staff provide or recommend appropriate treatment and offer prevention information.
Careful surveillance partnered with a quick response has effectively slowed the spread of disease for years and continues to protect public health in Webster County.