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is the study of the distribution and determinants of disease in a population. Public health epidemiologists monitor the health and illness of a population, investigate the factors that affect the community's health, and recommend interventions to reduce the risk of disease. Epidemiology is practiced in health departments daily and involves principles of surveillance, investigation, laboratory testing, data management and communication.

Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Current Situation
The countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia continue to experience an outbreak of Ebola, with a total of 7,157 cases as of October 2, 2014. Nigeria and Senegal have not reported any new cases since September 5, 2014 and August 29, 2014, respectively.

On September 30, 2014, CDC confirmed the first travel-associated case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States. The CDC is conducting a thorough contact investigation of people who had close contact with the confirmed case. Close contacts will be monitored for 21 days (the maximum time frame for symptoms of Ebola to develop after being exposed) to prevent any disease spread. For up-to-date information on the outbreak situation, please visit the CDC Ebola Outbreak webpage.

What is Ebola?
Ebola hemorrhagic fever is one of several Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers. It a rare and deadly disease caused by one of the Ebola virus strains. People who become infected typically develop fever, headache, weakness, joint and muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and loss of appetite. Some people may also begin to hemorrhage (bleed) inside and outside of the body. It is spread by direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with an infected person’s blood or body fluids, such as urine, saliva, feces, vomit, and semen. It is also spread through contact with objects (like needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions. For more information, see the CDC Ebola fact sheet.

Risk in the U.S.
Transmission of the virus requires direct contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids or contact with objects contaminated with infected secretions. Therefore, there is no significant risk for widespread transmission in the U.S.

Healthcare providers in the U.S.
CDC encourages all U.S. healthcare providers to

  • Take good travel histories of their patients to determine if they have traveled to West Africa within the last 3 weeks.
  • Know the symptoms of Ebola—fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and lack of appetite, and in some cases bleeding.
  • For symptomatic patients with recent travel to West Africa or contact with a known case, isolate the patient properly, then follow infection control precautions to prevent spread.
  • Contact your local health department to discuss any suspected case and testing.

For complete Ebola Information for Healthcare Providers and Facilities, click here.

Travelers returning from countries affected by the outbreak should monitor their health for 21 days after their return. Seek medical care if you develop symptoms and tell the medical office or emergency department about your recent travel before you go. For more information for travelers, visit the CDC’s Travel Health website.


Contact Information

Communicable Disease Fax Line
(804) 862-6294

Emergency After-Hours Call Number

District Epidemiologist
Louise Lockett, MPH
(804) 862-8986
Tuberculosis Nurse
Angelia Brennan, RN
(804) 862-8901
Communicable Disease Nurse
Catherine Bailey, RN
(804) 862-7617
STI Intervention Specialist
Tia Sanchez
(804) 862-8923
CD/TB Outreach
Charmin Davis
(804) 862-8902
STI Intervention Specialist
Sterling Stewart
(804) 862-8927

Resources for Health Care Professionals

Communicable Disease Quarterly Report

Request for Epi-1 Forms

Request for Data

Online Resources

Office of Epidemiology
Home page for VDH’s Office of Epidemiology.  It will connect you with the Divisions of Surveillance and Investigation, Disease Prevention, Environmental Epidemiology, Immunization and Radiological Health.

Disease Regulation Information
Contains the complete regulations for disease reporting and control for Virginia.  You will also find the reportable disease list, conditions reportable by laboratories, outbreak reporting requirements and the reporting form (Epi-1). 

Disease Fact Sheets
Contains all of VDH's disease fact sheets. From head lice to whooping cough to West Nile Virus, this is the first stop for quick, reliable disease information. Fact sheets are also available here in Spanish.

Communicable Disease Chart for Schools
Direct link to the PDF.  Make sure to review the footnotes at the bottom of this document.  Last revised November 1st, 2011.  More information can be found in the VDOE School Health Guidelines (located at the bottom of the page).

Nursing Facility Regulations
Contains a line list of guidelines from VDH’s Office of Licensure and Certification.  The Rules and Regulations for the Licensure of Nursing Facilities in Virginia can be found here.

VDSS Assisted Living Facility Regulations
Contains information on regulations, Code of Virginia, application process, guidelines, forms, training and more.

Successful Strategies for Infection Prevention & ControlThis toolkit contains infection prevention presentations, resources, and tools that have been adapted for the assisted living facility (ALF) and nursing home (NH) setting whenever possible. Much of the tools like infection prevention guidance, fact sheets and surveillance logs, however, are generally applicable to other settings.

EPA Registered Disinfectants
Contains listings of EPA registered antimicrobial products that are effective against HIV, Hepatitis B and C, Norovirus, MRSA and more.

FDA Bad Bug Book
Provides basic facts regarding foodborne pathogens and natural toxins

CDC Health Alert Network
Provides recent and archived health alerts, advisories, updates and informational messages regarding vital health information.

Flu Surveillance

The Health District works with physician offices, hospitals and laboratories to monitor influenza activity within Crater. To view the current flu activity trend within the District, please click here.

The weekly report of statewide influenza activity and strain surveillance can be found here.


The Rockingham/Harrisonburg dental department is located at 110 N. Mason St., Harrisonburg, VA 22803, in the BASEMENT of the Health Department. 

Qualifications for dental services:

  1. Patient must live in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County
  2. Have either Medicaid and/or Free Lunch, qualify as “A” income on our sliding scale
  3. Patient must be between the ages of birth and nineteen, and still attending high-school if age 21.  We do NOT treat adults.
  4. We accept Virginia Premier, Optima, Sentara and FAMIS.  With FAMIS the patient must have the $2.00 co-pay plan, NOT the $5.00 co-pay plan.  (Patients having the $5.00 co-pay FAMIS must go to a private dentist, as it is considered private insurance.)  The health department does NOT collect the $2.00 co-pay

If you meet these qualifications, please call 540-574-5210 to make an appointment.  Our office hours are Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.  Please call before coming to make sure we are open, as occasionally we are closed for a holiday or inclement weather.


The Waynesboro-Augusta dental team sees children from birth to 21 years of age who have Medicaid or are eligible for free school lunches. The Waynesboro dental clinic, located at the Waynesboro Health Department, sees children from Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta. Our office hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To make an appointment at the Waynesboro-Augusta office call 540-949-0137, ext. 122.


The Lexington-Rockbridge dental team sees children from birth to 21 years of age who have Medicaid or are eligible for free school lunches. The Lexington-Rockbridge dental clinic, located at the Lexington Rockbridge Health Department, sees children from Lexington, Rockbridge and Buena Vista. Our office hours are Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. To make an appointment at the Lexington-Rockbridge office call 540-463-3185, ext. 125.

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Last Updated: 10-08-2014

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