Preventing and Controlling Communicable Disease
Communicable diseases are transmitted between people by direct contact, contact with fluids or indirectly by a vector (such as a tick or mosquito). The Communicable Disease Program works with local healthcare providers to prevent, identify and limit the spread of those diseases. The state of Montana requires local health departments to follow-up on over 40 different diseases/conditions.
Depending on the disease, our goal may be to identify the source of infection, identify high-risk contacts, facilitate treatment and provide education to the public. There are many reasons you may receive a call from a public health nurse:
- Identification of community exposures. For reportable food borne illnesses it is important to ensure there is not a common food source causing illness. We will ask for a list of foods eaten, recreational water and animal exposure. The information from ill contacts and results from stool samples help gather evidence to point to potential sources.
- Identifying high-risk contacts. Depending on the disease, we may be able to protect people who are at high risk for complications. For example, when we call someone with pertussis we will ask about their contact with children under 12 months, pregnant women or immunocompromised people. We can get in touch with those people and talk with their providers about prophylactic antibiotics.
- Prevention and education. Some diseases such a malaria and Lyme disease are not found in Montana. We will ask people about travel to other states and countries so CDC can have accurate data about where people are getting sick with diseases.
- To keep diseases from spreading. The Food Code mandates food workers to not prepare or serve food when they are sick with certain diseases. For example, if you are a food worker and diagnosed with salmonella we can work with you and your job so your supervisor understands what work you are able to do until you are no longer contagious. An outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease in a school or daycare setting may require children who are not vaccinated to be excluded until there is no longer transmission of the disease in that setting.
We appreciate the cooperation and goodwill from the residents of Gallatin County who work with us to help keep the county healthy.
Some reportable communicable diseases in our community include:
Are you a health care provider needing to report a confirmed or suspect case of a communicable disease?
- Please call 406-582-3100.
- If you need to reach the Gallatin City-County Health Dept after hours to report an urgent public health matter:
- Call the Gallatin County Sheriff’s office at 582-2100, ext. 2