DISEASE REPORTING (COMMUNITY)
Our epidemiologists investigate a wide variety of conditions that occur in the community such as: STIs, Vaccine Preventable Diseases, and Foodborne Illness.
Disease Reporting Requirements
Utah law requires that certain diseases be reported by healthcare providers in a timely manner.
The below section is taken directly out of the Utah State Health Code.
Reporting communicable disease is a requirement that bypasses HIPAA regulations.
Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA)
HIPAA Privacy Act permits physicians, their office staff, and other covered entities to disclose protected health information to public health authorities without the patient’s written authorization for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease. This includes conducting public health surveillance, investigations, and/or interventions.
In conjunction with the State Health Department and Environmental Health at Southwest, the Epidemiology team looks for patterns and outbreaks of foodborne illness in the community. This would include such diseases as salmonella, campylobacter, E. coli, cryptosporidium, giardia, and shigella. In the event of an outbreak, we would: (1) Inspect implicated food establishments. (2) Interview infected persons. (3) Require food workers to submit stool samples to ensure that they are not infected with a communicable disease.
Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV are all reportable conditions in the State of Utah. Our office is notified when a patient tests positive for any of these conditions, and will then interview the patient to determine how they may have been infected, how to prevent spreading the disease and/or becoming re-infected. Furthermore, we will help educate the patient’s intimate partners, and help facilitate testing and treatment for at-risk partners. We are responsible for follow up on all reportable STIs and contact tracing with referral to treatment for those contacts.
Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) may be utilized, in which a doctor may provide treatment for the infected patient’s partner(s), without the partner needing to be seen by the healthcare provider.
For more information about STIs,
We do not currently offer any testing or treatment for STIs. We typically refer patients to their primary care physician, Planned Parenthood, Family Healthcare, or the Doctors Volunteer Clinic.
Our TB control nurse helps educate and guide clinicians regarding treatment and testing of tuberculosis, and works directly with active TB clients and their doctor through completion of treatment. To facilitate this, the nurse performs Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) and case management for active TB patients to ensure they receive appropriate treatment and avoid spreading disease in the community. Our office does offer TB skin testing through the Nursing Services Clinic, which must be read between 48 and 72 hours after being placed.
Quantiferon TB Gold (QFT) and T-SPOT testing are not performed by the local health department. Please speak with your healthcare provider to receive a lab requisition to have this testing completed through any laboratory services, or contact WorkMed.
We investigate a multitude of other diseases, including various types of strep, coccidioiodmycosis, tick-borne diseases, rabies, and West Nile Virus. Diseases are reported electronically, or by healthcare providers. A member of the surveillance team will interview infected patients to discuss their illness, how they may have been infected, and how they can prevent the spread of disease in the community. We are happy to answer questions, provide education, and deliver community presentations as requested.