The purpose of the epidemiology program of the Salem County Health Department is to create, maintain, support and strengthen routine surveillance and investigation of communicable diseases to timely identify the public health threat followed by appropriate control actions. The epidemiology program assists and ensures the reinforcement of the New Jersey Administrative Code 8:57 (NJAC 8:57) which requires health care providers to report, and the county and local health departments to investigate and control isolated events, clusters, and/or outbreaks of communicable diseases following the technical guidelines of New Jersey Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s core capability of Public Health Surveillance and Epidemiological Investigation and local policy and procedures. There are more than 60 reportable communicable diseases (NJAC 8:57) that are subject to reporting, investigation and timely control by respective clinical and public health entities.
The epidemiology program aims at building and sustaining enhanced partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New Jersey Department of Health, county and local health department, area hospitals and the long term care facilities, community physicians/veterinarians and other community-based public health partners to ensure effective implementation of disease surveillance, investigation and control. Public Health Surveillance and Epidemiological Investigation will consist of the ability to perform following four functions:
- Disease surveillance and detection
- Epidemiological investigation
- Recommendation, monitoring and evaluation of control measures
- Building and improvement of disease surveillance and epidemiological investigation systems
The County Epidemiologist in consultation with the New Jersey Department of Health and Center of Disease Control and Prevention will work as subject matter expert in providing 24/7/365 technical assistance to the disease investigators, public health nurses, infection preventionists of the area hospitals, laboratories of area hospitals and/or commercial laboratories schools, nursing homes, physicians/veterinarians and other relevant public health partners in the matters related to disease surveillance, investigation and control. New Jersey Department of Health web-based and Centers for Disease and Prevention compliant Communicable Disease Reporting and Surveillance System (CDRSS) will serve as the main surveillance tool to collect, investigate, analyze, monitor and report the communicable disease trend. Disease investigators/public health nurses, environmental health specialists, Public Health Emergency Notifications Systems Coordinator, and Health Educator/Risk Communicator at the local and county health departments, infection preventionists at the area hospitals, laboratory technicians/scientists and community physicians/nurse practitioners will be the major contributing partners in disease surveillance and response.