What is a Communicable Disease?
A communicable disease, also referred to as an infectious disease, is a disease that can be transmitted from one individual to another, or from an animal to a human. The spread of these diseases can occur through various methods including direct contact, indirect contact, airborne transmission, or vector-borne transmission.
Communicable Disease Surveillance & Response
The Health Department monitors the incidence of, and responds to cases of, communicable disease in Orange County. The goal of these efforts is to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
To accomplish this goal, the Health Department staff monitors and analyzes data collected by the New York State Department of Health, and investigates reports of communicable disease cases from hospitals, laboratories and physicians’ offices in Orange County. The Department also monitors emergency services, school absenteeism, and other data to provide early detection of disease outbreaks.
To contain outbreaks, Department staff provides health education for patients with reportable communicable diseases, contacts physicians who are treating these patients, and finds and educates people who have had contact with these patients.
The Health Department works with schools and other community organizations to initiate public health control measures when appropriate to contain the spread of communicable disease.
County Health Department staff work with the New York State Department of Health on communicable disease issues on a daily basis. When appropriate, the Department also works closely with the Federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to respond to outbreaks. A recent school-based mumps outbreak, for example, was contained through an aggressive, joint immunization effort by the County and State Health Departments and the CDC.