Epidemiology: Communicable Diseases in Miami

Communicable diseases

The Department of Health of Miami, Florida has an epidemiology program. Its primary objectives are to monitor and investigate the cases of communicable population-based diseases and conditions. The monitoring is in place for a purpose to detect and address the conditions in time to prevent their development and spreading on larger groups of the population and becoming a serious threat. The program works according to an orderly scheme.

First of all, the agencies involved in the monitoring and prevention of communicable diseases need to identify the sources of the registered conditions and threats, determine their ways of transmission, and predict the individuals who could have been exposed to the disease (Infectious Disease Services, n. d.). After that, the services are to deliver the necessary prevention measures and stop the infection from spreading.

Moreover, the professionals involved in disease prevention are to provide the necessary information to the population to ensure a high level of health literacy of the community (Infectious Disease Services, n. d.). Infectious diseases are viewed as the potential threats associated with bioterrorism, and that is why all the existing and new diseases need to be carefully monitored, researched, and reported to the Bureau of Epidemiology.

For the reporting and processing of data related to the communicable population-based diseases, there are several sources in Miami, Florida. The infectious conditions can be reported to laboratories, hospitals, urgent care clinics, food-borne illness hotline, and Miami Animal Control service. The list of reportable diseases in the state of Florida includes a wide variety of conditions each of which is marked with black, blue, or red color.

The latter diseases are to be reported immediately as soon as the suspicion appears (anthrax, smallpox, plague, cholera, measles, yellow fever, and rubella are some of these conditions), the ones marked blue are to be reported immediately after being confirmed (they include such diseases as hepatitis A, dengue fever acquired locally, listeriosis, and rabies), and the former conditions are to be reported on the nearest business day (they are tuberculosis, leptospirosis, and most STDs, to name a few) (Reportable Diseases/Conditions in Florida, 2014).

Three Conditions

Three communicable diseases were chosen for the discussion in this paper. Their dangerousness and the potential effect on the population of Miami are presented below along with the measures taken to help contain these threats under the initiatives of Healthy People 2020.

Rabies

In the practitioner’s list of reportable population-based diseases, rabies is marked as one of the conditions that need to be reported to the Bureau of Epidemiology immediately after the disease is confirmed by the laboratory tests (Reportable Diseases/Conditions in Florida, 2014). Under the initiative of Healthy People 2020, there exists the Rabies Surveillance Network (RSN); it is an electronic system that contains data about the signs and symptoms of rabies in humans and animals and its frequency and patterns of occurrence (Rabies Surveillance Network, 2016). It also provides the details of the agencies and organizations that need to be informed about the cases of rabies.

In Miami, rabies is transmitted by wildlife such as bats and raccoons that can infect unvaccinated house pets and thus expose their owners to the disease. The illness caused by rabies is highly dangerous and presents a close to one hundred percent risk of fatal outcome to the infected people and animals.

To control rabies, the plan of action has to include the following steps: the restriction of contact with wildlife (bats and raccoons, in particular), maintenance of up to date vaccination schedule of house pets, the prevention of them from being outside unsupervised, informing animal control services about the wild animals in the neighborhood, and bat-proofing houses. Moreover, the population needs to have easy access to the services for reporting diseases (hotlines and websites).

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis has two forms – active TB and LTBI – latent TB infection; the carriers of the former type of the condition are prevented from having close contact with people around because their form of TB is highly infectious.

The state of Florida has its System of Tuberculosis Care that is designed specifically to detect, report, and address the causes of this condition occurring on the territory of the state to eliminate the threat (Tuberculosis, n. d.).

In the practitioners’ list of reportable diseases in Florida, tuberculosis is marked as one of the conditions that need to be reported on the next working way upon the confirmation of the disease using testing (Reportable Diseases/Conditions in Florida, 2014). To control this disease and prevent it from spreading on the territory of Miami and Florida, it is important to implement the following steps: provide easy access of the affected individuals to medical services where they can be assessed and diagnosed (testing is to become available and regular in the communities exposed to the highest risk of TB), offer information concerning the signs of TB, the dangerousness of the disease, causes, and treatments so that the population is fully informed about the risks. Providing a necessary level of literacy and education about the disease to the population is one of the critical steps towards taking the health threat under control because it enables collaboration between the healthcare practitioners and the communities.

Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a communicable disease that can be acquired by humans through a variety of sources such as water, soil, or plants that were contaminated by the initial carriers of the disease – animals; from their bodies, the spirochete of Leptospirosis infects the surrounding environment through urine. The symptoms are usually mild and in many cases are not reported by the affected persons who tend to recover independently over time (Leptospirosis, n. d.). The symptoms are difficult to diagnose in the clinical settings; and overall, the disease is rather rare in Florida – for instance, only five confirmed cases of Leptospirosis were registered in the state (there were also some probable cases) between 1998 and 2005 (Leptospirosis, n. d.).

To control the disease, the plan should involve the education of the community about the causes of the condition and how it can be transmitted. The communities need to know what measures can be taken to avoid the acquisition of the disease. Additionally, policies are to be developed prohibiting the presence of animal urine in public places such as parks and recreation territories where people rest or work and can encounter the vegetation, soil, or water. Investigations are to be carried out in each case of probable or confirmed Leptospirosis involving the appropriate measures applied to the areas of possible contamination.

References

Infectious Disease Services. (n. d.). Web.

Leptospirosis. (n. d.). Web.

Rabies Surveillance Network. (2016). Web.

Reportable Diseases/Conditions in Florida. (2014). Web.

Tuberculosis. (n. d.). Web.