Reportable diseases are illnesses considered to be of great public health importance. Local, state and national agencies (for example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) require that such diseases be reported when they are diagnosed by doctors or laboratories.
The process of reporting and investigating communicable diseases permits surveillance (that is, the collection of statistics on the frequency with which the disease occurs). Through surveillance the Southwest Utah Public Health Department watches for trends in disease occurrence, identifies disease outbreaks, and prepares for possible future outbreaks.
The Communicable Disease Division of the Southwest Utah Public Health Department supports the mission of the Health Department by four methods:
- To promptly investigate disease cases and outbreaks and unusual situations and to implement control measures to minimize further transmission of disease
- To monitor disease-reporting by physicians and laboratories in order to detect trends and to assess the public health impact of diseases
- To provide a channel of communication between the Utah Department of Health, other local public health agencies, private physicians and hospital and occupational infection control personnel as an essential part of disease control efforts
- To explain public health interventions and disseminate health education messages to the community and the media in order to enhance disease control efforts.