The Disease Surveillance Branch monitors disease trends and
outbreaks in the community.
are required by law to
be reported to the Okaloosa County Health Department. The Disease
Surveillance Branch investigates these disease cases and reports to
Florida Bureau of Epidemiology. Knowledge of these diseases
allows us to alert the community and to stop their spread in a
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
- 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
- Education and consultation to the public, physicians,
hospitals, day care centers, nursing homes, schools, and other
- Field investigation of animal bites.
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.
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
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).
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
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.
Reporting Information for Physicians, Labs, and Hospitals
o Tuberculosis: (850) 833-9240
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 Sexually Transmitted Diseases: (850) 595-6740
o AIDS/HIV: (850) 595-6337