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Health Department

Health Department

Disease Fact Sheets

  • Avian Influenza 

The Avian Flu is a naturally occurring contagious virus among birds.  The virus can affect domesticated birds such as chickens, ducks, and turkeys, and can be fatal.  While the avian flu does not usually infect humans, there have been a limited number of cases of human infection since 1997.  The current virus stain (H5N1) infecting birds has caused human illness and has been fatal in a small number of cases.  The virus has not yet been known to spread from person to person, and has only been contracted by humans from contact with an infected bird.  Read more 

  • Bacterial Meningitis

Meningitis is an infection of the spinal fluid and of the membranes surrounding the brain (the meninges). Before the Hib vaccine was approved for use, Haemophilus influenzae B was the most common cause of meningitis. Now, however, most cases of meningitis are caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae or Neisseria meningitidis.   Read more

  • Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease)

The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health partners are taking precautions to prevent further spread of Ebola. The Ebola virus is spread via direct contact with blood and body fluids of someone who is sick with Ebola and through objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with blood or body fluid of someone sick with Ebola. Read more

  • Giardia

Giardiasis (GEE-ar-DYE-uh-sis) is an intestinal infection cased by the microscopic parasite Giardia intestinalis (also known as Giardia lamblia). Giardia is frequently found in untreated water supplies, but people have also become infected from food, soil, and from objects contaminated by Giardia. Read more

  • Group B Streptococcus Infections

Group B Strep (GBS) was first recognized as a major cause of newborn sepsis and death in 1970 and since then has been recognized in pregnant women and other adults. Although in the same species as the streptococci that cause strep throat, scarlet fever, and the "flesh-eating" disease, they are in a different group. Read more

  • H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu)

Novel influenza A (H1N1) is a new flu virus of swine origin that was first detected in April, 2009. This virus was originally referred to as "swine flu" because laboratory testing showed that many of the genes in this new  virus were very similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in pigs in North America. But further study has shown that this new virus is very different from what normally circulates in North American pigs. It has two genes from flu viruses that normally circulate in pigs in Europe and Asia and avian genes and human genes. Scientists call this a "quadruple reassert" virus. Read More

  • Haemophilus influenzae B (Hib)

Haemophilus influenzae type B colonizes the respiratory tracts of many healthy people without causing disease. The B subtype of Haemophilus influenzae is more virulent than the other subtypes because it is surrounded by a polysaccharide (carbohydrate) capsule that allows it to evade capture by the immune system.  Read more

  • Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is the most common hepatitis reported in the US, and is the second most common vaccine-preventable disease (pneumonia is the first). It is most prevalent among children and young adults, although they are the least likely to show symptoms. Read more

  • Hepatitis B

Like the Hepatitis A and C viruses, Hepatitis B also infects the liver and causes the same symptoms as the other two viruses. Many individuals infected (up to 30%) show no symptoms, although they are capable of transmitting the virus to others. It is transmitted primarily by sexual contact, and is also considered a bloodborne pathogen. Read more

  • Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C virus, though causing identical symptoms to the Hepatitis A and B viruses, causes a much higher rate of asymptomatic infections- 80%. Persons infected with Hepatitis C are also much more likely to develop chronic Hepatitis C (50-85% of all infected), and 70% of those who are chronically infected go on to develop liver disease. Read more

  • Infectious Mononucleosis (Mono)

Mononucleosis is caused by an infection of the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), a member of the herpesvirus family. During infection, the virus invades certain white blood cells (mononuclear cells), and causes a disruption in immune functioning. Read more

  • Influenza

Influenza is a respiratory illness that can be easily transmitted from person to person by sneezing, coughing or direct contact While it usually causes mild to moderate symptoms in healthy persons, it can be deadly, especially in infants and the elderly. It is caused by the influenza virus, which has small genetic changes from year to year. When large changes in the virus occur, there is potential for a pandemic (worldwide) flu epidemic.  Read more

  • Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdoferi, which is transmitted through bites of the deer tick. Read more

  • Measles 

Measles is an upper respiratory disease caused by a virus that replicates in the cells of the throat. The virus also causes a generalized rash, and the rash is preceded by a trio of cough, runny nose, and conjunctivitis (pinkeye). Read more

  • Monkey Pox

Monkeypox is a rare animal-borne viral disease similar to smallpox. The virus that causes monkeypox is related to the one responsible for small pox. The vaccine for smallpox gives protection against monkeypox. 

  • Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

The disease pertussis (also known as whooping cough from the deep intake of breath following a spasm of coughing) is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. The disease is characterized by paroxysmal coughing, where the patient can find him/herself unable to breathe.  Read more

  • Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal disease refers to any number of the infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. The pneumococcus is a small, round bacterium that occurs mainly in pairs and is surrounded by a polysaccharide (carbohydrate) shell. Read more

  • Rabies

Rabies is a virus normally found in wild and domestic animals that can infect humans if they are bitten or come in contact with an infected animal's saliva. Read more

  • Salmonellosis

Salmonellosis is a gastrointestinal disease caused by bacteria of the Salmonella species. The two most common subtypes of Salmonella causing disease in the United States today are S. tymphimurium and S. enteritidis.  Read more

  • SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)

SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) is a disease that was first noted in Southern China in November 2002. It spread throughout Asia and eventually the rest of the world. SARS is caused by a coronavirus, which is a circular virus with protruding spikes that surround it like a crown (corona). Read more

  • Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI's) 

Sexually Transmitted Infection are defined as infections spread by passing infection- or illness- causing organisms from one person to another through sexual contact. There are more than 20 STIs, including HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, genital warts, chlamydia, hepatitis B, trichomoniasis and chancroid. If left untreated, some STIs can lead to certain kinds of cancers, fertility problems, neurological (brain) problems and death. Read more

  • Scabies

Scabies is a skin disease caused by an infestation of the skin mite, Sarcoptes scabei. It is a common infestation, and is especially frequent in group settings where direct contact is involved, such as hospitals, nursing homes, and day care centers. Read more

  • Shigellosis

Shigellosis is a gastrointestinal disease caused by the Shigella bacterium, which involves abdominal pain and bloody, watery diarrhea. Two main species cause shigellosis in the US: S. flexneri and S. sonnei. Only 10-200 bacteria are required to cause shigellosis, which makes this disease extremely contagious. Read more

  • Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis that primarily attacks the lungs, though any organ in the body can be affected. For 90% of persons infected with TB, the bacteria will be walled off by the immune system and the disease will remain latent in the body. Read more

  • Varicella

Both chickenpox and zoster (shingles) are caused by the varicella virus. Chickenpox is typically an infection of childhood, marked by an outbreak of pus-filled vesicles all over the body. While most cases pass without complication, chickenpox was the cause of thousands of hospitalizations and hundreds of deaths before the routine use of the varicella vaccine. Read more

  • Viral Meningitis

Meningitis is the inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Viral meningitis is the most common type of meningitis, and is mainly caused by a group of viruses known as enteroviruses. While viral meningitis produces the same symptoms as meningitis caused by bacteria and fungi, it is rarely fatal.  Read more

  • West Nile

West Nile virus was introduced to the United States in 1999, when it started causing deaths in birds and illness in humans in New York City. West Nile is classified as a flavivirus, which is in the same family as Hepatitis C, dengue, and yellow fever. Read more

  • Zika Virus

The Zika Virus is a virus primarily spread through infected mosquitoes, though can also be transmitted through sexual contact. Zika is linked to serious birth defects including microcephaly, a condition in which a baby's head is much smaller than expected. Microcephaly can result in a variety of health and development problems, including seizures, intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, problems with balance, trouble feeding, vision problems, and more. Recently the Zika virus has become a significant public health concern as it continues to spread internationally. Read more