Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance
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What is Epidemiology?
Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health and illness in a population. It is a core public health science. Epidemiologists monitor health trends and statistics to identify groups of people who are affected by various diseases. In addition, epidemiologists investigate cases of disease to determine the source, modes of transmission, and risk factors for disease. This information is then used to implement control measures to prevent the spread of disease.
Case Investigation & Disease Surveillance
The Epidemiology Program is responsible for investigating cases of reportable diseases and conditions in Charlotte County. These diseases include enteric illnesses, vaccine-preventable diseases, invasive bacterial infections, zoonotic diseases, viral hepatitis, and other conditions. We receive reports from hospitals, doctors’ offices, laboratories, clinics, and facilities such as daycares, schools, and nursing homes. Investigations generally involve interviews with patients to identify the source of infection and providing education about disease transmission and prevention. Cases are then reported to the Florida Bureau of Epidemiology.
Physicians, laboratorians, infection control practitioners, and other healthcare providers play a key role in the state and local public health department efforts to control notifiable diseases. The public health system depends upon reports of disease to monitor the health of the community and to provide the basis for preventive action.
Complete List of Reportable Diseases in Florida
(.PDF / 71.3KB)
Florida Administrative Code - Reporting Communicable Diseases
(.PDF / 247KB)
DOH Practitioner Disease Reporting Form
Florida Bureau of Epidemiology Website
Need to Report a Notifiable Disease?
941-624-7200 ext 7233 or 7231
If you are calling after hours, weekends and/or holidays: 941-915-3699 (Charlotte County)
FL Department of Health Bureau of Epidemiology: 850-245-4401 (Tallahassee)
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may be spread from person-to-person. When this happens, outbreaks
can occur. The Epidemiology Program investigates outbreaks in
various settings including schools & daycares, nursing homes,
assisted living facilities, correctional institutions, and other
community settings. Through the investigative process, we collect
data to identify affected individuals, the source of infection,
modes of disease transmission, and risk factors related to the
outbreak. The data is then used to control and prevent further
spread of illness.
One of the functions of the Disease Control Prevention and Preparedness (DCPP) office is to provide support to community partners. This includes consultation and support services during outbreaks of communicable diseases. The Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County would like to remind long-term care facilities that DCPP is available to assist you if your facility experiences an outbreak.
Visit the DOH Norovirus Investigation Information web page for Recommendations and Outbreak Management Tools to Prevent and Control Norovirus in Schools, Day Care Facilities, Long-term Care and Health Care Facilities, Correctional Facilities, Hotels, Homeless Shelters, and Buses.
Norovirus (Viral Gastroenteritis) Control Measures for Skilled Nursing Facilitities
Viral Gastroenteritis Fact Sheets for Nursing Homes
GI Outbreak Resident & Staff Line List
Influenza Information for Long Term Care Facilities
Recommendations and Outbreak Management Tools to Prevent and Control Outbreaks of Influenza-Like Illness
ILI Outbreak Resident & Staff Line List
Flu Prevention Posters
CDC Cover Your Cough Poster
CDC Respiratory Poster
DOH Handwashing Poster
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participates in the Sentinel Provider Influenza Surveillance Program
to monitor influenza trends during flu season (October – May). A
sample of providers within the county submits valuable data to
identify populations at highest risk for infection as well as the
types of influenza circulating the community.
Are you a provider who is interested in becoming a sentinel influenza surveillance provider? To learn about the benefits of being a sentinel provider, contact us at 941-624-7233
Florida Weekly Influenza Surveillance Reports by Year
Hepatitis Control and Outreach
Hepatitis is a viral
infection that affects the liver. There are several types of viral
hepatitis, and the Epidemiology Program is involved in several
activities to help educate the community about the potential risks
and methods to prevent infections.
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Rabies Prevention Program
Rabies is a
neurological disease that can be transmitted from animals to
humans. The Epidemiology Program works closely with Charlotte
County Animal Control to investigate animal exposures that may
result in rabies infection.
With the cooperation of Charlotte County Animal Control, suspected rabid animals are quarantined and/or tested to determine if the animal may have transmitted rabies to a human or pet through a bite or scratch. The Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County also consults with patients, physicians, and veterinarians regarding the current recommendations for treating a rabies exposure.
Pre-Exposure to Rabies:
For those persons traveling to a place that requires rabies vaccine or if you frequent an area where there is a good chance that you might be bitten by a rabid animal, the health department offers pre-exposure immunization. Please call 941-624-7233.
Note: Please note for travel reasons pre-exposure vaccine is a 3 dose series and must be administered 3 weeks prior to travel.
Post-Exposure to Rabies:
Healthcare providers must report all animal bites as per Florida Administrative Code Chapter 64D-3 to the Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County, regardless of treatment provided. Animal bite reports should be faxed to 941-624-7277 using the DOH Animal Bite Report Form.
Human exposure to rabies most frequently involves the bite of a rabid animal. A rabies exposure is defined as any bite, scratch, or other contact in which saliva or nervous tissue of a suspect or known rabid animal enters an open wound, or comes in contact with mucous membranes by entering the eye, mouth, or nose of another animal or person.
The healthcare provider, to whom the patient presents with the animal bite or other rabies exposure, has the responsibility to determine whether rabies Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is required, to counsel the exposed individual on risk and benefits of PEP and to begin PEP as appropriate and available.
Wound care should be given according to standard practices whether PEP is recommended or not. Even if the initiation of PEP is delayed, PEP should be administered as soon as possible if the patient is not demonstrating signs of encephalitis. Please consult "Rabies Prevention and Control in Florida, 2012."
Individuals with potential rabies exposure, who have initiated PEP with their healthcare provider, should complete the PEP with that same provider. If, for any reason, PEP has not been initiated as required or cannot be completed by the initiating healthcare provider, the exposed individual may contact the Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County's Epidemiology Program at (941) 624-7233 to arrange for PEP. Healthcare providers may also call that number for consultation on rabies exposure. For detailed information regarding rabies, please visit the Florida Department of Health website.
If you have been bitten by an animal that either has or suspected to have rabies please call 941-624-7233 to arrange for immunization or call your healthcare provider.
What you should know about rabies
Tips on dog bite prevention
Teach your children about dog bite prevention
To report an animal bite, contact
Charlotte County Animal Control at 941-833-5690.
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Information on Medical Regulations and licenses in the State of Florida.
Food Illness and Food Recall Information:
Report food illness online 24/7 at The Florida Department of Health.
You can also file a complaint with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
The Florida Department of Health provides information about reporting unsafe or unsanitary conditions.
See recent food recalls in Florida.
For more information about foodborne illness, please visit http://www.myfloridaeh.com
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