Washington County Public Health works to combat outbreaks and rising infectious diseases

For Immediate Release: Monday, December 16, 2019

Sponsored by: Health and Human Services Department, Public Health Division

Washington County Public Health has released its first infectious disease report. The report provides the most current data on disease trends, case counts and in-depth articles on communicable diseases, sexually transmitted infections, HIV, tuberculosis and various outbreaks in the county.  

“We are excited to release the first ever infectious disease report for our county. The data provides important information and evidence that can protect community health and prevent the spread of disease,” says Tricia Mortell, Public Health division manager. “We use data in collaboration with our community partners to better understand and address our county’s most pressing public health issues.” 

The 28-page report details 2018 data and the important work of Public Health’s Disease Control and Prevention program and outbreak teams. 
Two highlights of the report:

A quick response to prevent illness in children: When a complex E. coli outbreak occurred in a day care facility, the outbreak team responded quickly to identify the cause of the outbreak and provide technical assistance and training to both staff and parents. To help prevent future outbreaks, Public Health partnered with the Office of Child Care and Child Care Resource and Referral Services to develop workshops and training materials for day care facilities.

An increase in disease in Washington County: For the first time since 2014, Washington County saw an increase in the number of newly diagnosed HIV infections. The rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis also continue to rise in Washington County. These increases have spurred several initiatives to serve high-risk populations in the community. These include expanding STI testing geared toward individuals at highest risk for HIV/STI infections and implementing a harm reduction mobile van that offers syringe exchange, testing for HIV and hepatitis C, and connecting people with services and treatment.

Washington County Public Health works in partnership with the community to improve and protect the public's health and achieve health equity through prevention, regulation and education.

To read the full report, visit: https://www.co.washington.or.us/HHS/News/reports-and-publications.cfm. For more information, call 503-846-3594.

Media Contact:

Wendy Gordon, Department Communications Coordinator/PIO