Communicable Diseases, STDs and Other Conditions

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There are over 100 notifiable conditions in Washington State. More than 95% of those are considered communicable disease and are reported to the health department for further surveillance.

Here are some of the more common notifiable conditions, some found frequently in Washington, some not:       Here is a list of other common diseases and health issues that afflict our community which are not necessarily “notifiable” but are still very real:


                                                

If you can’t find the disease you’re looking for, that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Click here for the complete list of Washington State notifiable conditions. 
Have more questions? Call the health dept and talk to the nurse at 509-524-2650.

Measles
Visit our Current Outbreak page for the most current information on measles in Washington State. For MMR vaccine questions, click here or call the nurse at 509-524-2650. For more general information about measles in general, visit the Washington State Department of Health Measles page.

Looking for prevention?
The MMR vaccine is safe and extremely effective. Measles is one of the most pathogenic viruses known to man. Hours after an infected person leaves, a 30 ft ring of airborne virus can still hang in the air and infect over 90% of unimmunized people who breathe it in. Visit our Immunization page to learn more.
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Influenza
Flu season is here. Activity is still very low. If you haven't gotten your flu shot yet, do it now. View Washington State Department of Health's “Weekly Influenza Update” to see the most current information on the state's influezna status, or compare with CDC’s Weekly Report. If you’re interested worldwide efforts to combat influenza, read the World Health Organization’s Global Influenza Strategy.

Looking for prevention?
Influenza vaccine comes out once per year, recommended by the end of October. Researchers are closer to discovering a vaccine that will work for more than one season! You can still protect yourself, your family, and your community, or make the duration of the infection shorter and less severe from the virus, by getting your yearly flu shot. Click here for places to go to get a flu shot, aside from your regular doctor, in season.
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Lead Poisoning
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Washington State Department of Health’s Lead Page is the information hub for all things lead-related. On May 2, 2016, Governor Inslee signed a directive for Washington State Department of Health to continue and expand partnerships with schools, public health, rental agencies, the health care authority, and other available resources to help eliminate the devastating effects of lead exposure, especially in our children. With the help of the CDC, guided by Michigan’s declaration of emergency in January of 2016, millions of dollars were set aside for preventative tasks, especially increasing blood lead level screening, introducing a blood lead level statewide monitoring system, and funding case management.
All blood lead levels are notifiable conditions. No level of lead in blood is deemed safe at this time.
Read more about childhood lead exposure from CDC and AAP. If you are on Medicaid, your child should be screened for lead at 12 and 24 months. Ask your doctor today.
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Salmonella

chicken and duck handwashing graphicClick here to learn more about salmonella (available in Spanish). There have been recent national outbreaks of salmonella due to “backyard” handling of ducks and chickens. Simple handwashing with soap and water is still the best way to prevent infection. If these are not available, alcohol gel with lots of rubbing of hands is still better than nothing.
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Campylobacter
Campylobacter has been the most common food-related illness reported to the CDC for the last 5 years, and does not appear to be decreasing. It can be transmitted from live poultry as well as improperly cooked food. Click here to learn more about Campylobacter (also in Spanish).
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Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E
Not all hepatitis are entirely alike, despite sharing the label “hepatitis.” One of the biggest differences is how you can catch them. Hepatitis A and E are transmitted only by mouth, via the fecal-oral route. Hepatitis B, C, and D are transmitted only by blood or bodily fluid. Find more information at DOH's hepatitis information hub (also in Spanish).
Hepatitis A outbreak: Washington State Hepatitis A Outbreak announced among certain high risk groups: keep up with Washington State’s cases and outbreak news here.

Looking for prevention?
Hepatitis A and B are the only vaccine-preventable hepatitis. Visit our immunization page to learn more about where to get Hepatitis A and B vaccines.

Want to know more about Hepatitis C treatment in Washington State? There are novel new drugs out there that are more convenient and have far fewer side effects that can literally “cure” Hepatitis C. Despite being expensive, Washington State is designing a revolutionary new program that they are on schedule to put in place in 2019, to eliminate Hepatitis C in Washington State by 2030. Read more about how you may be able to access affordable treatment here.
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Cryptosporidiosis
Learn more here (Spanish version available) about this relatively common gastrointestinal parasite first discovered to make humans sick less than 50 years ago.
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GiardiaDrinking-Water-Program-300x300
Not in my pool water! Our Environmental Health Department does a great job keeping your sources of recreational and drinking water clean. Learn more from the Washington State Department of Health (Spanish available) or from our very own Environmental Health team
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Listeria
Learn more about this food-borne illness from the Washington State Department of Health (Spanish version available). Listeria outbreaks are common, especially in deli meats, soft cheeses, and vegetables. Listeria is a well-identified cause of stillbirth and preterm delivery. Check the CDC website for the most recently identified foods to avoid.
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Chicken pox (varicella)
While vaccines have drastically reduced instances of chicken pox, it has not completely disappeared. There are still hundreds of yearly deaths and the extreme physically-, societally-, and mentally-damaging physical and paralytic effects of post-herpetic neuralgia.  Learn more from CDC.

Looking for prevention?
You can protect yourself, your family, and your community against the potentially devastating effects of zoster virus by vaccinating. Learn more on our immunization page.
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Whooping cough (pertussis)
Thanks to vaccination campaigns, the over 5000 cases of whooping cough contracted during a Washington State epidemic in 2012 has not been matched since. Even then, just 4 years ago, Washington had an outbreak of over 300 cases of pertussis. This virus, especially deadly to infants, is still very much around.  Read more about whooping cough (available in Spanish).

Looking for prevention?
You can protect yourself, your family, and your community from whooping cough by vaccinating. Your can even protect your unborn child by getting a Tdap while still pregnant. Learn more here.
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Mumps
While the MMR is not perfect, it’s still the best protection we have. Before routine vaccination, mumps was a major cause of deafness and sterility, especially in our children. Learn more here.

Looking for prevention? 
You can protect yourself, your family, and your community from mumps by vaccinating. If you are your loved ones are off to living in longer-term close quarters like dormitories or barracks, protection from mumps is a priority. Learn more on our Immunization Page.
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E. coli 0157
While E. coli is a common bacteria, and may be essential to the human microbiome, this special type of E. coli can cause a life-threatening condition called “hemolytic uremic syndrome” and is different from other E. coli species. Learn more here.
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West Nile Virus
While unusual in Washington, a handful of West Nile Virus cases are reported each year, especially in livestock. Click here to learn more or visit our Zoonotic Disease page.
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Coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever)
While extremely uncommon in Washington, cases have been reported from Yakima, Benton, Franklin, Kittitas, and Walla Walla Counties. The vast majority of cases are still in the Southwestern US and San Joaquin Valley, California, the place of Valley fever’s discovery. Learn more here.
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Lyme diseasetick removal graphic
Washington is considered a “low-risk” state, with an average of 15 cases per year. Compare to Pennsylvania, with an average of almost 9,000 cases per year. The tick that transmits Lyme disease has not been found past the Eastern slopes of the Cascades. Learn more about Lyme Disease here or find out  how to remove a tick on our Zoonotic Disease Page.
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Hantavirus
Hantavirus is a virus breathed in from a certain type of infected mouse and its excretions. Washington state has many mice and extremely few cases of confirmed hantavirus. Learn more from the Washington State Department of Health (available in Spanish), or visit our Zoonotic Disease Page for a quick review.
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MRSA and other resistant “bugs”mrsa graphic
Washington State is aggressively addressing the problem of antibiotic resistance, including MRSA. Learn more here.
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Fifths Disease
Did you hear about “slapped-cheek rash?” Learn more here.
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Fever
A temperature of 100.4 or greater: Do you give medicine for it? Do you not? Click here for more information.
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RSV (respiratory syncytial virus)
Most folks may not even know they have it. A small percentage of patients end up with life-threatening lung inflammation, asthma for the rest of their lives, residual reactive airway disease, and more, especially if they were infants, a “high-risk population,” or elderly when ill. Read more about RSV here (we are in Region 10).
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Norovirus
This vomiting/diarrheal illness is extremely contagious and also kills about 50,000 children around the world each year. Here in the US, it is best known as “the stomach flu,” although it is not related to influenza. Contaminated food, like restaurant food, and contaminated water, including from swimming pools, is common. Even shellfish can get norovirus and pass it on to you when you eat them. Clean with bleach, wash your hands, and minimize all contact with others for at least 2 days after symptoms go away, including food prep. Read more here.

Rotavirus, a virus that causes similar symptoms and more than 4x as many deaths per year, already has a vaccine that is part of our routine immunization schedule. Norovirus vaccine is an area of active research. Read more here.
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STDs
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Click here for more information on STDs in Washington state.

Chlamydia
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The most common STD known to humankind. Cases are up 33% from last year in Walla Walla County. Learn more here.

Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is the second most reported disease in the country. Drug-resistant gonorrhea has become a big issue. Less than 15 years ago, clinicians had six different treatment options. Now they have one. Learn more here.

Syphilis
“The great masquerader” is at a 20 year high: 6 of the 656 Washington State cases last year were babies born with congenital syphilis. Click here for info.

HPV (human papilloma virus)
If missed clinical opportunities to provide HPV vaccinations were eliminated, 91% of adolescents would have had protection against HPV related cancers. That's 40.000 deaths EVERY YEAR. This is the first vaccine against cancer! Learn more here.

Looking for prevention?
HPV does have a vaccine, and it can now be recommended up to age 45 for both men and women. Ask your doctor or visit our immunization page to learn more.

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
There are many more options for treatment and even prevention than there were just 5 years ago. As part of “End AIDS Washington” the state helps higher-risk folks get insured, get tested, get PrEP, and get treatment. There is even help with post-exposure prophylaxis, called PEP. The Washington State Department of Health has more information about testing, treatment, prevention, and clinic locations.

HSV-1 & 2 (Herpes Simplex Virus)
HSV has no cure, and no vaccines. There is an antiviral medication that will shorten an outbreak but no treatment that will eradicate the virus completely. The infant death rate from HSV is increasing in the United States and was significantly higher over the last 15 years than previous years. Click here for more information.

If you think you’ve been exposed, visit our clinic location page.
If you are still needing partner services, call us at 509-524-2650 or come into our office at 314 W Main St., Walla Walla, WA.

Contact Us
Main Phone Line: 509-524-2650
Confidential CD Fax: 509-524-2642

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Updated 11/7/19

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