The Communicable Disease Control program staff works to protect the health of the public by providing investigation, surveillance, and prevention activities to help curb the spread of disease. We investigate and track communicable diseases to promote the safety and well-being of the community by seeking to prevent disease outbreaks. Disease prevention and control must be a cooperative effort involving healthcare providers, local and state health departments, and members of the community.
Diseases that public health is required to investigate by North Carolina law are called "reportable." All physicians, health care providers, and laboratory personnel are required by law to submit reportable disease information to the health department.
For Individuals and Families: Preventing Communicable Diseases
Cover Your Cough!
Tiny droplets that exit the nose or mouth when a person coughs, sneezes or talks spread some diseases. Without meaning to, we can infect others when these droplets come into contact with another person's nose, mouth, or eyes. Keep illness from spreading! If you have a fever with a cough or rash, let your health provider know before you enter the building.
Click on the links below to learn about common diseases that can be spread by droplets in the air:
- Common Cold
- RSV (respiratory syncytial virus)
- Whooping cough/Pertussis
- Meningococcal Disease/Meningitis
- Rubella/German Measles
Symptoms of these diseases often include fever with a cough or rash. Good health manners can help prevent the spread of these diseases. If you are sneezing, coughing, or have a fever, ask for a mask when you visit your doctor, hospital, or other healthcare provider. Do not worry when you see healthcare staff and other people wearing masks. They are preventing the spread of germs.
Wash Your Hands!
Good hand hygiene can stop the spread of a number of illnesses and infections, including diarrheal stomach illnesses caused by E.coli, norovirus, and shigella. Some bacteria, like norovirus, can't be killed by alcohol hand sanitizers, so washing your hands well with soap and water is important, especially before preparing or eating food, or after using the bathroom or changing diapers.
Click on the links below to learn about some common diseases that can be spread by direct contact, including insufficient handwashing:
Hand, foot, and mouth disease
Parvovirus B19 (Fifth disease)
Use Good Health Manners
- Cover your mouth and nose with tissues every time you sneeze or cough.
- Put used tissues into the trash.
- Wash your hands well and often with soap and water or use an alcohol hand sanitizer.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Do not share eating utensils, drinking glasses, towels or other personal items.
How to Stay Healthy
- Vaccination is the first and best line of defense against many airborne and droplet diseases.
- Clean your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner. Learn more about hand hygiene.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- When possible, try to avoid close contact with people who are sick.