Communicable diseases are illnesses that spread from one person to another or an animal to a person, or from a surface or a food.
One of the most important responsibilities of Jefferson County Public Health Service is to investigate communicable diseases and outbreaks. Providers, hospitals and laboratories are required by law to report certain diseases to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). NYSDOH then reports the case to Jefferson County Public Health Service. Whooping cough, meningitis, hepatitis A, and salmonellosis are a few examples of reportable communicable diseases.
A JCPHS nurse receives the report and begins their investigation. Investigations look different for different types of disease. In general, the nurse will call the patient and ask a series of questions to try to find out how they got the disease and to determine if anyone else is at risk of developing the disease. We also track trends and patterns to determine if there is an outbreak. All reports and interview information are kept confidential.