Health Communicable Disease Program
Phone: (360) 416-1500
Keep yourself healthy by learning about common communicable diseases, their symptoms and how to prevent infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website is an excellent resource for disease-specific information; use their A-Z list to search for common diseases.
What do we need to report? The list of notifiable conditions is found at the Washington State Department of Health (WA DOH) website: https://doh.wa.gov/public-health-healthcare-providers/notifiable-conditions/list-notifiable-conditions
When do we need to report? In general, cases of reportable conditions or outbreaks should be reported as soon as they are identified. Specific timelines from WA DOH are found on the reporting website: https://doh.wa.gov/public-health-healthcare-providers/notifiable-conditions/list-notifiable-conditions
How do we report? Call the Communicable Disease Division at 360-416-1500, Monday through Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm or fax a School Absenteeism Report Form to 360-416-1515.
Why do we need to report? Schools and child care facilities are required to notify the local health department of the presence of a contagious disease (WAC 246-110-020) or of suspected or confirmed outbreaks of notifiable conditions that may be associated with the facility (WAC 246-101-415 & 246-101-420). Schools are also asked to report when school absenteeism exceeds 10% of the student population.
Schools and childcare are allowed to report diseases or health concerns that pose a risk to student health and safety under Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA 34 CFR § 99.36).
The goal of reporting is to prevent further spread of disease by implementing appropriate control measures. Once reported, Skagit County Public Health (SCPH) can offer guidance and can also help with drafting letters to notify parents, flyers, and other educational materials.
|Animal Bites & Rabies
What is Rabies?
Rabies is a severe viral disease that affects the central nervous system. It is almost always fatal once symptoms develop but can be prevented if treatment is given before symptoms appear. All warm-blooded mammals, including humans, are susceptible to rabies. For more information, visit the Washington State Department of Health and CDC rabies websites.
In Washington State, bats are the only known reservoir for rabies. The percentage of bats in the wild that are infected with rabies is very low (less than 1%). Though rabies is rare in bats, it is important to assess every human exposure to a bat carefully. Bat teeth are razor sharp and tiny, so a bite wound might not be noticed. If you know for certain you have been bitten or scratched by a bat, seek medical attention immediately. If you are unsure, call Public Health at 360-416-1500 for an assessment.
What should I do if I find a bat in my living space?
Do not touch the bat with bare hands. Close the room's doors and windows. Wait until the bat lands on the floor or a wall. Wearing leather or other thick gloves, capture the bat in a can or box without touching it. Seal the container and call Skagit County Public Health. Do not put the bat in a refrigerator or freezer. See the video “How to capture a bat in your home” below for more detail.
We will help you determine whether any people or pets in your home may have been exposed and can arrange to test the bat for rabies, if needed. What may seem insignificant to you might turn out to be serious enough for testing and treatment. If you know for certain you have been bitten or scratched by a bat, seek medical attention immediately.
How to avoid bat bites?
“Bat proof” your home by making sure open windows have screens and that other small entry points, such as cracks, crevices or holes, are sealed. Be suspicious of bat activity during daylight hours - it could indicate the bat is sick.
How to protect your pets from rabies?
Always vaccinate your pets, including dogs, cats, ferrets, horses and rodents. If your pet finds a dead bat, collect the bat in a plastic bag as you would pick up dog droppings – no bare hand contact. Should your pet come in contact with a bat or other animal that may be rabid, call Skagit County Public Health for current recommendations and call your veterinarian to be sure your pet's rabies vaccinations are up to date.
Do I need to report an animal bite?
If a health care provider suspects that an animal bite may involve the risk of rabies exposure, call Public Health immediately and fax the Bite Report Form to Public Health. Public Health will determine the appropriate follow up with the person exposed and the animal.
8:30 am – 4:30 pm, M-F: 360-416-1500
|How to Obtain a Copy of My Medical Record
Skagit County Public Health will release your medical information to you or any agency that you designate after receiving your completed Authorization for Exchange of Information application. Return the completed application to us along with the appropriate fee prior to us releasing your information.
Please contact Skagit County Public Health at (360) 416-1500 to determine the correct fee as our prices do vary. There is no fee for releasing medical records to doctor’s offices, or immunization records to schools.
Authorization for Exchange of Information application | Español