Communicable Diseases

A major focus of public health has always been the investigation and control of communicable diseases. These diseases are reported to the local health department, which in turn submits the information to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). ODH then forwards the reports to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. The timely reporting helps to rapidly control the spread of disease through the treatment and education of affected individuals and the identification of carriers.

Communicable and Infectious diseases are classified by their severity of disease and potential for epidemic spread. These diseases are governed by the health department under Ohio Administrative Code Sections 3701.3.02 and 3701.3.13.

If you have a Reportable Condition see our 24/7/365 contact information here <Disease Contact List>. If you are a facility with a reportable disease please complete the Ohio Confidential Reportable Disease Form <here>. You may fax to the Nursing Clinic at (419) 586-3910 or mail to the Health District.

Know your ABCs –
ABC Guide for Reportable diseases

Ohio Department of Health (ODH):
http://www.odh.ohio.gov 

Frequently asked Questions

How does the Health District nurse find out I am sick?

When your doctor makes the diagnosis or the lab test comes back positive, your doctor or the lab is required by law to report your illness to the Health District.  They may do this by phone, fax, or through the Ohio Department of Health Disease Report System, which is a computerized database.

Why does the Health District need to know about my illness?

The illness may be one that can easily be spread to other family members or the public.  The Health District can provide you with information to prevent this from happening or will work with you and your employer to make sure that you do not come in contact with others until you are no longer contagious.  as well can seek treatment.  This is done in a manner in which your name is not used.  Or, the illness may be one that can be rapidly spread in a community by food, water, or animals (such as mosquitoes and bats) with deadly consequences.  The Health District works with you and your doctor to identify methods to contain and treat the disease.

Who will you tell about my illness?

The Health District keeps communicable disease reports confidential.  We do not release your name to the media. We do not release your name to your co-workers, or even other family members without your express permission.  (We will talk to parents about their child’s illness except in cases of sexually transmitted diseases, for which a minor can seek treatment without parental consent.)  We do not verify information on cases to anyone except the physician involved and possibly to other health departments should there be a widespread outbreak.

Who can I talk to if I have more questions?

If you have questions about the communicable disease program, the reporting process, or diseases in general, you can call the Health Office at (419) 586-3251  Extension 1279 or Extension 1298.

MRSA  (Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus)

One case of MRSA is not reportable by law, however if a case is linked to another case, then the law mandates it to be reported to the local health district.

What is MRSA?

A staph infection that is resistant to antibiotics.

What is Staph?

Staphylococcus aureus is a common germ that lives on the skin.
A break in the skin can cause infection.  Staph infections are the most common cause of skin infections in the United States. Approximately 25-30% of the population will have staph bacteria in the nose or skin at any given time. The bacteria can come and go.
Staph is a common cause of pneumonia, surgical wound infections, bone and joint infections and blood stream infections.

Can It make me sick?

MRSA can cause infections ranging from mild to very serious, even life threatening.  MRSA can be found in other areas of the body, such as blood, lungs, eyes and urine. These types of infections are often more serious.

What does MRSA look like?

Most often, MRSA causes skin infections. They can look like:
Sores that look and feel like spider bites
Large, red, painful bumps under the skin (boils)
A cut that is swollen, hot and filled with pus
Blisters filled with fluid (impetigo)

mrsa1

How Does MRSA spread?

MRSA can be spread through direct physical contact.
It may also be spread by touching something that has the bacteria on it then touching your eyes or nose, or skin openings, such as; Towels, sheets, wound dressing, clothes, uniforms, athletic gear, workout areas, sports equipment, bars of soap, razors, phones, doorknobs.

MRSA can live on surfaces and objects for months.

How is MRSA Treated?

Your health care provider may choose one or more of the following
1.Drain the infection
2.Give antibiotics
3.Reduce the amount of bacteria on your skin

Will I always have MRSA? Even after active infections go away, you can still have MRSA bacteria on your skin and in your nose. This means you can be a carrier of MRSA. You may not ever get sick again or have another infection, but you can spread MRSA to others.  Sometimes, MRSA goes away after treatment and later comes back again and again.

How do I keep from getting skin  infections?

  1. Keep scrapes, burns and wounds covered with waterproof bandages.
  2. Don’t use loofahs, netted sponges or other scrubbing items over wounds.
  3. Don’t get tattoos or piercings

Personal Care Guidelines

  1. Outbreaks involving staph skin infections have become more common within group settings.  The spread of these infections require close contact – ie. Skin to skin or contact with a surface that contaminated with drainage from an infection.  Clean intact skin serves as a barrier to infection.
  2. Wash hands frequently.
  3. Carry alcohol based hand gel to sanitize your hands if soap and water are not available.
  4. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  5. Throw the tissue in a wastebasket and wash your hands.
  6. Take a bath or shower every day.  This will help reduce the amount of bacteria on your skin.
  7. Keep fingernails short to keep the bacteria from growing under and on your nails.
  8. Change your bed sheets and towels regularly.
  9. Change your clothes daily and wash them before wearing again.
  10. Do not share towels, razors, toothbrushes, or other personal items.
  11. Take good care of your skin.  Any break or crack in your skin can allow it to enter and cause infection.  If you get a cut or scrape, clean it with soap and water and then cover it with a bandage.
  12. Do not poke or squeeze any sores.
  13. Take care of yourself: eat right, exercise, quit smoking, and avoid stress.
  14. Get medical care at the first sign of infection in a cut, such as redness, swelling, pain, or pus.
  15. Tell your health care providers if you have had MRSA in the past.

How do I keep MRSA from spreading?

Follow the Personal Care Guidelines

  1. Do not touch the sores, especially ones that cannot be covered with a bandage or clothing, such as sores on your face.  If you do touch a sore, wash your hands immediately after putting on the bandage.
  2. Cover any infected sore with a bandage.
  3. If you have drainage from a sore, put extra dressings over it to keep the drainage from leaking through.
  4. Wear clothes that cover the sore and bandages.
  5. Be very careful around people who have weak immune systems, such as newborn babies, the elderly, or anyone with a chronic disease.  If they get MRSA, it can make them very ill.
  6. If MRSA is in your urine or feces, clean your bathroom well.  If other people handle your urine or feces, they should wear gloves and wash their hands well afterwards.
  7. Do not participate in contact sports until your sores have healed (sweating can cause a bandage to loosen and lead to contact with equipment and other people).
  8. Do not go to a public gym, sauna, hot tub, or pool until your sores have healed.
  9. Do not get manicures, massages or haircuts until sores have healed.

Resources:

Ohio Department of Health (ODH):
http://www.odh.ohio.gov

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
http://www.cdc.gov/Features/MRSAinSchools

Cleaning:
http://www.epa.gov/oppad001/chemregindex.htm