The control of infectious diseases in the region is the responsibility of the Office of Epidemiology and Health Protection. Epidemiology is the scientific analysis of staff are responsible for tracking and investigating health problems and hazards in the region. They gather and analyze data on the community’s health to determine risks and problems. Epidemics, foodborne illnesses and hazardous conditions are identified and contained. This also includes the implementation of preventive measures to make the community safer.
Infectious diseases constitute a continuing threat to the public’s health. They cause illness, suffering and death, and place an enormous financial burden on society. Although some infectious diseases have been controlled by modern technological advances, new diseases are still emerging. Under M.G.L. Chapter 111, suspected and/or confirmed cases of diseases dangerous to the public’s health must be reported to the local Board of Health and/or the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH). Reporting disease occurrences enables the Public Health staff to monitor trends, detect and control outbreaks and evaluate prevention activities. Our Public Health nurses regularly collect important information on all reported diseases as part of routine disease investigations. Investigation may involve a visit to the patient’s home, a telephone call and/or a follow-up letter. The nurses also provide case management services to clients with tuberculosis disease and direct observed therapy (DOT) to clients on tuberculosis medications.