A look at what we do
Communicable Disease Division prevents and controls the spread of disease.
Our programs include:
- Food and Community Safety—Inspects and permits food sellers, educates food workers, investigates food-related outbreaks, and ensures pools and schools are safe.
- Public Health Consultants—Monitors disease trends, educates healthcare providers and schools, promotes immunization and infection control, and makes sure people with diseases like tuberculosis get the treatment they need.
- Emergency Preparedness—Plans for and responds to emergencies and helps coordinate a network of volunteer health care providers.
- STD/HIV/AIDS—Monitors sexually transmitted disease rates, provides STD testing, coordinates treatment, and educates the public about safe sexual health practices.
- Disease Investigation—24/7 disease investigation and response for things like hepatitis, pertussis, E. coli, salmonella, and more. We ensure outbreaks are controlled and that people get the treatment they need. We also monitor disease rates in the community and measure the impact of our efforts to reduce them.
Communicable Disease data
Pierce County schools have some of the highest vaccination rates in Washington. In the 2017-18 school year, 91.5 percent of our students had all their required immunizations. That's a really big win, but it doesn't happen by accident. Our public health consultants work hard to make sure all students have access to affordable vaccines.
We work with local healthcare providers, school and university staff, and volunteer groups to make vaccines available to all students. We make sure no child is denied a vaccine due to a family's inability to pay. We also make vaccines easier to get by working with our partners to bring flu vaccination clinics to schools. Removing barriers like travel and cost helps make the healthy choice the easy choice for parents. Here's a look at the number of school-based flu vaccines we have helped to provide:
*-2018 data includes 295 students immunized at back-to-school clinics who in some cases received vaccines other than influenza.
Supporting healthcare providers
One of our many jobs is to support those who keep our communities healthy—doctors, nurses, emergency workers, schools. We keep providers up-to-date on disease information and local health issues, so they can give you the best possible care.
We recently launched a new section of our website, designed just for providers. We also do in-person outreach. Our public health consultants visit hundreds of provider offices, schools, and clinics. We help answer questions about disease testing, treatment, prevention and reporting, and provide updated health information. Our goal is to visit at least 80% of our clients every year. Here's a look at how we've been doing:
When you eat, you shouldn't have to worry about getting sick. Unsafe food can cause more than 200 different types of illness. That's why we work to hard regularly inspect restaurants and educate people who prepare food. We're here to help when outbreaks happen, too. We respond to reports of foodborne illness and complaints about restaurant safety.
Our staff are real detectives when it comes to foodborne illness. Once they identify the source, we work with vendors to stop the spread. We also provide technical assistance and education to prevent future outbreaks. The chart below provides a look at the number of foodborne illness reports we respond to each year. There was a spike in 2018 because of a few norovirus outbreaks, which spread easily and can affect a large number of people.