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Disease Surveillance Hours of Operation

Florida Bureau of EpidemiologyThe Disease Surveillance Branch monitors disease trends and outbreaks in the community. Certain diseases are required by law to be reported to the Okaloosa County Health Department. The Disease Surveillance Branch investigates these disease cases and reports to the Florida Bureau of Epidemiology. Knowledge of these diseases allows us to alert the community and to stop their spread in a timely manner.

The OCHD Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Branch staff members are engaged in a wide array of activities, including:

  • Surveillance and reporting of communicable diseases and conditions.
  • Field investigation of case and outbreak situations.
  • Analysis and distribution of public health data.
  • Counseling and education on Hepatitis A, B, C.
  • Screening, surveillance, and management of lead poisoning cases.
  • Education and consultation to the public, physicians, hospitals, day care centers, nursing homes, schools, and other community institutions.
  • Field investigation of animal bites.

Scientist with microscope

Disease Outbreaks in the Community

The Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Branch investigates reports of disease in the community. An outbreak occurs when two or more unrelated individuals present similar symptoms and can be linked through a shared location or time (e.g. ate at the same restaurant within a specified time frame of each other). Following a report, the Epidemiology staff conducts phone or face-to-face interviews of sick individuals to determine how and when they became ill and, to determine if others have been exposed. If the investigation implicates a local facility (restaurant, school, or daycare), an inspection of the establishment is carried out by members of the Disease Surveillance Branch and Environmental Health.

3 Hurricanes over Florida EPI Emergency Planning and Response

The Okaloosa County Health Department actively plans for an efficient response to health emergencies occurring within our community. The Disease Surveillance Branch is part of the emergency responder team along with the Emergency Preparedness and Environmental Health Branches.

The Disease Surveillance staff is trained to respond to man-made emergencies (i.e., bioterrorism) and naturally occurring health threats (i.e. pandemic influenza and hurricanes). They are responsible for evaluating our community’s health needs and for assisting in any mass immunization or prophylaxis (antibiotics and/or immunizations).

Dog showing teeth Animal Bites

Animal bites or injuries require immediate attention and possibly a visit to a doctor or emergency room because domesticated and feral animals can transmit a large number of diseases to humans. Special attention and urgency should be given to injuries involving small children (up to 2 yrs old) or injuries located above the neck and shoulders (i.e. face bites).

Even though only animal injuries requiring rabies treatment are reportable to the Florida Department of Health, all animal bites should be reported to the Okaloosa County Health Department.

If you need to report an animal bite, contact the Okaloosa County Health Department, Environmental Health Branch at (850) 689-7859. If the bite is from a cat, dog, or ferret, Environmental Health staff is responsible for attempting to locate the animal and making sure it is kept in observation at the owners’ home or the local animal control facility for a 10-day quarantine. The bite report is then forwarded to the Disease Surveillance staff for evaluation.

Group of physicians Reporting Information for Physicians, Labs, and Hospitals

>> Healthcare Providers Webpage

  • Reportable Disease/Conditions in Florida
  • Use the Disease Report Form (PDF) to report communicable diseases.  Complete the form and fax or mail it to Disease Surveillance with a copy of the lab report.
         • 24/7 Confidential Fax: (850) 833-7577
         • Mailing Address:  Disease Surveillance
                                        221 Hospital Dr NE
                                        Ft Walton Beach, FL 32548
  • To report tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV/AIDS, please call:
                 o Tuberculosis: (850) 833-9240 x 2313
                 o Sexually Transmitted Diseases: (850) 595-6740
                 o AIDS/HIV: (850) 595-6337


  This page was updated on 14-Apr-11

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