Spotlight on Communicable Disease

The Malheur County Health Department Communicable Disease program protects community health by responding to outbreaks and infectious diseases of public health concern. We work to prevent and control the spread of communicable diseases through investigation, providing immunizations, education, and treatment.

Preventing and controlling the spread of disease is at the heart of much public health work. Outbreaks of infectious diseases can have an serious impact on human health. Some diseases spread from one person to another while others can spread from animal to person. Some are spread through the air, by touch or through bodily fluids. Some diseases may produce mild symptoms; others can be lethal. Communicable Disease includes Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Learn more about STDs from the CDC and the OHA.

Our vision is to ensure everyone in Malheur County is protected from communicable disease threats. Call us at 541-889-7279 to schedule testing for common communicable diseases, such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, HIV, and Hepatitis C. We have many vaccines to prevent communicable diseases, treatment for people who test positive or who are exposed, education, and referrals for more care and information when needed.

Communicable Disease (CD) versus Non-Reportable Disease

  • Communicable diseases, also known as infectious diseases or transmissible diseases, are spread from one person to another. Listed below are some of the diseases the Health Department investigates:
    • Rabies
    • Botulism
    • Measles
    • Syphilis
    • Gonorrhea
    • TB
    • HIV
    • Chlamydia
    • Hepatitis  

Oregon state law requires the tracking of communicable diseases in order to prevent and control disease outbreaks. To ensure the safety of the community, the law also requires Healthcare Providers and Labs to report all reportable diseases to MCHD. See Oregon Disease Reporting Posters and learn more on the OHA Rules and Reporting page.

  • Non-reportable communicable diseases may be transmittable, but are not investigated by the health department, such as:
    • Lice
    • Strep throat
    • Scabies
    • Parkinson’s
    • Heart disease
    • Stroke
    • Auto-immune disease
    • Cancer

Malheur County CD Goals

  • Prevent new sexually transmitted infections (STI) through increasing awareness and education.
  • Improve community health by reducing poor outcomes of STI & CD infections.

We do this by:

  1. Providing non-judgmental, confidential care
  2. Providing services at little to no cost
  3. Investigating infections
  4. Educating

Focus on Prevention

There are many ways to prevent the spread of disease. Vaccinations have helped eliminate or greatly reduced disease threats. Proper handwashing, especially before and after handling food and using the toilet, helps keep germs at bay. Other important ways to slow or stop disease transmission are by ensuring the food we eat and water we drink is safe, avoiding people who are sick and practicing safe sex.

Several Communicable Diseases were detected in Malheur County in the last year. See the chart below for the number of cases reported by month. Call us at 541-889-7279 to set up an appointment for testing.

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