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Communicable Diseases
Communicable Disease Surveillance and Reporting
2016 Provider Update Available
Communicable Disease and STI Update for Providers, 2016

CD Graph
Communicable diseases are diseases that spread from one person to another either directly or indirectly. They are caused by several kinds of tiny life forms, often called “germs” that  can only be seen by microscopes. The two most common kinds of germs that cause diseases in humans are bacteria and viruses.

Bacteria are larger single celled life forms that grow and reproduce. There are many different kinds of bacteria. Most bacteria are susceptible to antibiotics, but some bacteria have become resistant.

Viruses can only make more of themselves when they are infecting humans or other hosts. Scientists have been able to develop vaccines to prevent many kinds of viral infections. They have been less successful at making drugs, called antivirals, to treat viral infections. Antibiotics do not work against viral diseases.

How can I prevent the spread of communicable disease?
  1. Wash hands frequently and completely.
  2. Use alcohol gel or hand rubs in place of soap and water only if hands are not visibly dirty and the solution contains at least 60% alcohol.
  3. Take advantage of vaccines that are available to prevent serious illnesses.
  4. When you are sick keep your germs to yourself and stay home from work or school.
  5. When you are well stay a safe distance (2 - 3 feet) from those who are sick.
  6. If you are given medication to treat an infection, be sure to finish your prescription. Stopping too soon may lead to resistance, making future infections harder to fight.

Proper Hand-washing
  • Thoroughly wet hands
  • Apply soap and lather for 15 – 20 seconds
  • Rub longer if hands are visibly dirty
  • Soap well every part of the hands (don’t forget between the fingers and under the nails)
  • Rinse in a flowing stream of water
  • Dry hands with paper towel or hand dryers

More Information

Communicable Disease Overview
Department of Health    

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Department of Health

Department of Health    

Updated 6/1/16