Communicable Disease


Public Health Nurse, 509-962-7515


The communicable disease program is responsible for the investigation of disease outbreaks and controlling the spread of communicable diseases in the community through education and prevention. Communicable diseases such as influenza, pertussis, and tuberculosis are spread from person to person by direct or indirect contact with an affected individual.

Communicable disease investigation, contact tracing, and consultation are available at the Health Department relating to all communicable diseases. Local health care providers and labs are required by Washington State law (WAC 246-100) to report over sixty communicable diseases. Prompt reporting enables health department staff to identify exposed persons who are at risk of acquiring disease, detect outbreaks, follow trends, and limit the spread of disease. Although the law requires reporting, there are often inconsistencies in reporting, documentation and diagnosis among different providers, and it is believed that many communicable diseases, especially those that are less severe or are associated with sexual contact, are seriously under-reported.

Reportable communicable diseases

Responsibilities of health care providers

The following document outlines the disease and conditions that are to be reported to the Local County Health Department Pursuant to WAC 246-100 certain diseases should be reported to the Local County Health Department. During business hours, report notifiable diseases at 509-962-7515. After hours, when a disease must be reported immediately, call 1-800-839-1922.

Stop the spread of germs that can make you and others sick!

Influenza (flu) and other serious respiratory illnesses like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) are spread by cough, sneezing, or unclean hands.

To help stop the spread of germs,

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put your used tissue in the waste basket.
  • If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
  • You may be asked to put on a facemask to protect others.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Wash Your Hands