Communicable diseases, sometimes called infectious diseases, are illnesses caused by organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Sometimes the illness is not due to the organism itself, but rather a toxin that the organism produces after it has been introduced into a human host.
Communicable diseases may be transmitted (spread) either by:
- one infected person to another,
- from an animal to a human, or
- from some inanimate object (doorknobs, table tops, etc.) to an individual.
It is important to note that some communicable diseases can be spread in more than one way.
Hospitals/clinics are required by law to report certain communicable disease to the local health department and it is the local health department’s responsibility to follow up on these diseases/illnesses as they are considered to have great public health impact. To see a list of reportable diseases, please check the Department of Health Service’s Disease Reporting page.
To learn more about communicable diseases, call the Forest County Health Department at 715-478-3371, or view the Department of Health Service’s Communicable Disease Fact Sheets page.