Epidemiology is the foundation of public health. It is the study of the distribution and determinants of disease and other health conditions, and the application of evidence-based information to help prevent and control diseases and adverse health conditions to improve health outcomes.
The Hamilton County Health Department’s Epidemiology Program performs activities such as:
- Conducts active and passive surveillance to monitor diseases and adverse health conditions.
- Detects, responds to, and investigates outbreaks of diseases and adverse health conditions.
- Recommends appropriate prevention measures, treatment, and control.
- Conducts data analyses and disseminates information.
- Provides education and guidance on diseases, adverse health conditions, prevention, and control.
- Responds to epidemiology questions and data inquiries from residents, healthcare providers, the media, and others.
- Coordinates and implements community health assessment activities, such as surveys and reports.
Hospitals, laboratories, physician offices, and clinics are required by Tennessee state law to report notifiable diseases to the health department. Information about Reportable Diseases is available from the Tennessee Department of Health.
Reports of a communicable disease can be mailed, faxed, or called into the Epidemiology Department. Diseases that require immediate telephone reporting can be made to (423) 209-8000. To reach staff on-call after hours, call (423) 209-8010. Report form can be found here.
Reports of tuberculosis should be called in to (423) 209-8030.
When a report of a notifiable disease is received by the health department, a nurse in the Epidemiology Department will interview the patient or family member to determine the possible cause and risk factors associated with the disease. The goal of gathering this data and doing follow-up investigations on certain diseases is to prevent disease spread in the community.
Potential Foodborne Illness
To report a possible foodborne illness, call the health Department’s Environmental Health Division at (423) 209-8190 Monday through Friday, 8 am-4 pm. To make a report after regular business hours, call (423) 209-8000.