Communicable diseases, often referred to as contagious diseases, are illnesses caused by germs such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Sometimes the illness is not due to the germ itself, but rather the poison that the germ makes after it enters a human body.
The Public Health Nurse is available to:
- Explain what the disease is, how it may spread, what tests are performed to diagnose a disease, what treatments are currently used, and how to stop the spread of the disease
- Follow up (in confidence) with persons who may have been exposed to certain diseases
- Report certain diseases to the State (required by law)
- Refer person(s) with certain diseases to specialists when necessary
In Wisconsin, there are more than 75 reportable diseases which, by law (Administrative Rule HFS145), the Public Health Services is required to report and follow up on.