Infectious Disease Prevention and Control

The St. Mary’s County Health Department Infectious Disease Program monitors, investigates, and responds to emerging infectious (or “communicable”) disease public health threats in St. Mary’s County. The program also works to ensure that county residents receive appropriate and timely information about infectious disease concerns. The Infectious Disease Program works closely with health care providers and facilities to assure appropriate prevention, investigation, and treatment practices for infectious disease public health threats.

Infectious Disease Reporting

Maryland law requires local health care providers, hospitals, and others who are instructed to do so to submit a Confidential Morbidity Report of diagnosed or suspected cases of specific communicable diseases to the St. Mary’s County Health Department. Reporting provides an opportunity for appropriate public health follow up for patients and contacts, helps identify potential or developing outbreaks, and provides a better understanding of Maryland’s communicable disease patterns.

Individual communicable disease reports are kept confidential.

If you are a health care provider and need a reportable disease list and reporting instructions, click here. 

Disease Reporting Forms for use by Health Care Providers:

To Report a Possible Animal Bite or Exposure (Note: Health care providers are required by state law to report animal bites or scratches) – Call the Health Department at (301) 475-4330 and submit Maryland State Form #4206 to the St. Mary’s County Health Department.

To Report a Lyme Disease case – submit the attached Lyme Disease Case Report Form to the St. Mary’s County Health Department.

To Report Suspicion of Zika virus disease – immediately contact the St. Mary’s County Health Department at 301-475-4330 (business hours – office) or 301-475-8016 (after hours/weekend on-call) to discuss the need for testing and to arrange for testing.

For other Disease Reporting – Call the SMC Health Department at (301) 475-4330 and submit Maryland State Form #1140 to the St. Mary’s County Health Department. Please do not use fax if reporting a case of HIV/AIDS.

After business hours, clinicians needing to urgently report an animal bite or a reportable condition may contact the St. Mary’s County Emergency Operations Center at (301) 475-8016 to be connected to a public health official on-call.

Disease Reporting Forms for use by Laboratories:

Laboratory Directors should use forms available per state guidance.

Disease Reporting by Schools, Childcare Providers, and Others required to report:

Please call Infectious Disease Control at the St. Mary’s County Health Department at (301) 475-4330 or after hours at (301) 475-8016.

Reportable Diseases

St. Mary’s County Health Department investigates all reported communicable diseases and disease outbreaks. Infectious Disease Program team members recommend interventions and prevention techniques. Disease conditions that we investigate include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Animal Bites
  • Perinatal Hepatitis B
  • Meningitis
  • HIV / AIDS
  • Lyme Disease
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Salmonella
  • Tuberculosis
  • Zika Virus Disease

Health care providers and institutions are required by state law to report certain infections and diseases to local public health officials. For a list of mandatory disease reporting requirements in Maryland, click here.

Reporting Local Infectious Disease Cases

 

 

Infectious Disease Surveillance

Disease surveillance is fundamental to the prevention and control of communicable diseases. Surveillance is the process of gathering disease information in a systematic way to observe clues, trends, or patterns that will help with early detection of disease and control of disease outbreaks. It is the basis for planning public health action. 

Best Prevention of Infectious Disease

Washing your hands with soap and water remains a primary strategy for the prevention of communicable diseases. Hand washing can reduce the potential of acquiring respiratory diseases, diarrheal infections, and skin infections.

For the prevention of many infectious illnesses, water alone is not as effective; hand washing should be done with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Commercially available, waterless alcohol-based hand gels or wipes are suitable alternatives when soap and water are not readily available. Tip: Parents can encourage children to wash their hands with soap and water for as long as it takes them to sing their ABCs.

For information about why hand washing is so important, click here. Kids can learn more about hand washing and fighting infections at www.scrubclub.org.

Additional Resources