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.
Preventing and controlling communicable diseases are core public health functions that protect our community and reduce the potential for illness and death among people of all ages. To do this, the Communicable Disease Program works closely with our health care provider partners to:
Investigate notifiable conditions reported by health professionals, identify risk factors for disease, and provide education on how to prevent future infections.
Conduct surveillance for notifiable conditions and describe disease trends.
Investigate communicable disease outbreaks and recommend control measures to mitigate further spread.
Serve as a consultant and technical resource to our health care provider community.
Educate the public, policy makers and health care planners so they can make informed decisions.
Build and manage partnerships with local and state authorities to effectively control the geographic spread of diseases.
Health care providers are our first line of defense for preventing and controlling communicable disease. The Communicable Disease Program is available to help providers with notifiable conditions as well as other conditions they are concerned about.
List of Notifiable Conditions and reporting instructions for:
What is a Notifiable Condition?
In Washington, healthcare providers, healthcare facilities, clinical laboratories and veterinarians are legally requiredto notify public health authorities at their local health jurisdiction of suspected or confirmed cases of selected diseases or conditions. These are referred to as notifiable conditions. State law requires that these conditions be reported in a timely manner so that Public Health can identify and control sources of infection. Additionally, Skagit County Public Health can facilitate testing for some diseases at the Washington Public Health Lab.
In addition to the list of conditions notifiable statewide,Skagit County Board of Health requires health care providers, health care facilities, EMS, and firefighters to report opioid overdoses to Public Health within 72 hours of the incident. To learn more about the purpose, legal basis, and intent for this reporting, please read our FAQs:
Reporting Notifiable Conditions
To report notifiable conditions in Skagit County:
Confidential fax reporting line: 360-416-1515
Business hours phone line (8:30am-4:30pm): 360-415-1500
Urgent after hours phone line (health professionals ONLY): 360-770-8468
When reporting a notifiable condition, inform the patient that Public Health will be following up with them directly. If the patient is infectious to others, provide education on how to prevent the spread of disease to family, friends, or the public (e.g. isolation for a certain amount of days, no sharing food or water, no cooking for others, no sexual contact for 7 days following treatment, etc).
Vaccines are one of the most important and effective tools we have against communicable diseases. Since vaccines were introduced, the number of people sick with these diseases has decreased between 85 and 100 percent.
Though greatly reduced in the United States, these diseases have not gone away entirely and can be found in other parts of the world. With modern plane travel, you can get from one corner of the globe to another in less than a day. Diseases can travel just as fast.
Also, vaccines don’t just protect yourself, they protect the people around you. Most vaccine-preventable diseases are spread from person to person. If one person in a community gets an infectious disease, they can spread it to others who are not immune. But a person who is immune to a disease because they have been vaccinated can’t get that disease and can’t spread it to others. The more people who are vaccinated, the fewer opportunities a disease has to spread. This is often referred to as “herd immunity”. This protects people who cannot be immunized because they are too young or they have medical complications that prevent them from getting the vaccine.
To see the immunization rates at your school or schools near you, see the School Immunization Data from Washington Department of Health.
Immunization protects children and adults from many dangerous diseases. It is never too late to catch up on immunizations. You or your child can be immunized even when sick with a minor illness. The immunization will be effective and won’t make the illness worse. If you miss a shot, you don’t need to start over. Just go back to your doctor for the next shot. Talk with your health care provider if you have questions about vaccines.
To see what vaccines are recommended for your age (or your child’s), see these immunization schedules:
It’s best to go to your healthcare provider for immunizations.
They can check to make sure your child is healthy.
Most insurance plans cover the office and administration fees—but ask your provider first.
Or you can go to a pharmacy that will vaccinate children (most do not vaccinate children under 5 years old). See our list of Vaccinating Pharmacies in Skagitand call ahead to make sure they will vaccinate your child.
If you have insurance, it will be billed a vaccine administration fee.
If you do not have insurance, or if your insurance does not cover the vaccine administration fee, you will not be billed.
Where to Get Vaccines for Adults
Adults need vaccines too! Children aren't the only ones who need vaccines. Adults need boosters as protection from childhood immunizations wears off. Different diseases like shingles are also a greater risk for adults, and require vaccination. You also need a flu shot every year. Protect yourself and your friends, family, and community from preventable illness. Find out which vaccines you may need. You can also talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to get their recommendations.
Adults can get a vaccine from their health care provider or select pharmacies. Call ahead to your pharmacy to check vaccine availability and requirements. See our list of Vaccinating Pharmacies to find one near you.
Skagit County Public Health does not have an immunization clinic.
Schools and child day 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 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 on outbreak response. SCPH can also help with drafting letters to notify parents, flyers, and other educational materials.
To report, call the SCPH Communicable Disease Program at 360-416-1500, Monday through Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm or fax a School Absenteeism Report Form to 360-416-1515.
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 Healthand 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.
08:30 am – 4:30 pm, M-F: 360-416-1500 After hours (health care providers ONLY): 360-770-8468
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.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. Authorization for Exchange of Information application | Español