Communicable Disease

Communicable or infectious diseases are those diseases that spread from one person or animal to another. Communicable diseases still account for some morbidity and mortality. Since they can spread quickly, it is essential to identify cases early and determine the source of the infection in order to prevent additional spread to others. 

Note: With the exception of Tuberculosis, cases in this section do not include Independence residents. 

Intestinal Illness

Intestinal-related diseases are typically transmitted through contaminated food or water or through direct contact with infected persons, animals, or objects. Illnesses are caused by pathogens like Camploybacter or Salmonella. Young children, the elderly, and those with a weakened immune systems are at a greater risk for complications from these pathogens. The CDC estimates that nearly one in six Americans are affected by foodborne illness every year resulting in approximately 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. 

Typically, EJC sees the most cases due to Campylobacter and Salmonellosis. 

Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Vaccine-preventable diseases are infections that are preventable or less likely to occur with vaccinations. Vaccines work with a person's body to help safely develop immunity. In the U.S. there are currently vaccinations that protect against 16 different diseases including Hepatitis A and Influenza. Despite progress in disease prevention, approximately 42,000 adults and 300 children in the U.S. die each year from a vaccine-preventable disease. Vaccinations can reduce direct health care costs by $9.9 billion and safe $33.4 billion in indirect costs. 

In EJC, Pertussis is the highest case seen. From 2011-2015, 0.18 preventable hospitalizations per 10,000 residents were due to a vaccine preventable disease.

Respiratory Illness

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The national hospitalization rate during the 2016-2017 flu season was 65.2 hospitalizations per 100,000 people. This is higher than the cumulative hospitalization rate for the 2012-2013 flu season (44.0 per 100,000) and the 2014-2015 flu season (64.1 per 100,000). 

For more information: 

Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis is an infection that is spread through the air from one person to another person. It is estimated that nearly one in three people in the world are infected. People born in the U.S. are less likely to have TB than those born outside. In 2015, there were a total of 9,557 cases of TB in the U.S. The national rate of TB in 2015 was 3.0 per 100,000. Missouri had a lower rate at 1.5 per 100,000 with a total number of cases in 2015 at 92. 

TB Disease: Positive TB test, plus clinical, bacteriological, or radiographic evidence of current active TB disease

TB Infection: Positive TB test, no bacteriological or radiographic evidence of active TB disease

TB Suspect: Medical evaluation not complete

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are infections that are spread primarily through sexual contact. These infections can affect individuals of all ages; however, they appear to have a greater impact on young people. It is estimated that youth and young adults between 15 and 24 years of age make up just over one-quarter of the sexually active population but account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted diseases that occur in the U.S. each year.

Sexually Transmitted Disease Diagnoses Occurring in a Hospital per 1,000 Total Population by ZIP Code, 2016. 

Data Source: Washington University School of Medicine, Hospital Industry Data Institute, Missouri ZIP Health Rankings. 2016

In EJC, ZIP Codes in Independence, Sugar Creek, and Raytown have the highest rates of STD diagnosis. Chlamydia is the most diagnosed STD in EJC not including Independence cases.

Zoonotic Diseases

Zoonotic diseases refer to infections that spread from animals to people by means of: coming into contact with an infected animal, being bitten by a mosquito, tick or other infected animal, or consuming something contaminated by an infected animal such as unpasteurized milk or cheese.

Return to main health assessment page: