What is epidemiology?
In public health we don't just wait for things to go wrong. We focus on preparation by trying to prevent and anticipate public health problems. Epidemiology is at the core of that as it the study of disease epidemics and those who practice it deal with incidence and prevalence of disease in populations. Incidence is the number of new cases in a given time period (this varies by condition) and prevalence is the total number of cases. Epidemiologists try to detect and contain outbreaks and epidemics of disease through a number of methods including, but not limited to, active surveillance, passive surveillance, and response activities.
Detection and management of disease outbreaks requires coordination from local agencies and hospitals. In Texas there are a number of conditions that are mandated by law to be reported to local public health. The list of notifiable conditions can be found on the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) website and downloaded for reference. The process for reporting diseases that are mandated by law is to report to your local health department, if you have one, and the local health department staff will investigate the report to determine if it is, in fact, necessary to report to the state. See the reporting fax line below in red.
In addition to monitoring reports of disease as they are submitted epidemiologists also work with preparedness staff to develop plans for the response to public health events such as natural disasters and bioterrorism.
If medical providers need to report any notifiable condition please remember to fax all information about the condition to our confidential Epidemiology fax line.
After Hour Emergency Phone Number: 254-773-4457