Communicable Diseases


Communicable Diseases SummaryHepatitisEmerging Infectious DiseasesSexually Transmitted DiseasesTeen STDsTests Available

Communicable Diseases – Summary

Commmunicable Diseases are . . .

  • Also known as contagious diseases
  • Transmitted from one individual to another
  • Infectious diseases that can be transmitted by direct or indirect contact or through the air.
  • Caused by microorganisms, such as protozoa, fungi, viruses, and bacteria, that invade the body and cause a series of changes that lead to infection and damage to the body; its tissues, organs, and organ systems. These changes may result in death.
Communicable Diseases – Reporting
St. Francois County Health Center, Communicable Disease Department conducts both *passive and *active surveillance for selected infectious diseases to determine the extent of occurence in our population.  This program seeks to identify, prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases is a cooperative effort of this agency, the Missouri Department of Health, Physicians, Hospitals, Schools, Laboratories and others.When cases of selected diseases are reported, they are investigated by public health nurses.  These investigations provide the necessary information to determine if a potential public health threat is present and helps in the decision as to what control measures should be implemented to address it.

The Department serves as an informational resource for Health Professionals and the general public.

* Passive Surveillance – In surveillance of this type, reports of selected diseases are sent to the State and Local Health Department by mandated reporters such as Physicians, Hospitals, Schools, or Laboratories.

* Active Surveillance – In surveillance of this type, the Local Health Department contacts a variety of sites on a weekly basis to collect information on disease occurrence at those places.

If you suspect that you have contracted a food-borne illness contact the
St. Francois County Health Center immediately at 573-431-1947 ext 121.

To report an infectious disease (communicable disease), please call the
St. Francois County Health Center, CD Office @ 573-431-1947 ext 141
between 8:00am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday

See our Influenza page on how to stay healthy through the flu season.

Or contact



The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services
P.O. Box 570, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102

Phone: 573-751-6400 Fax: 573-751-6041 E-Mail:

The Communicable Disease Office, in conjunction with the Environmental Health Department, also conducts investigations into food borne illnesses.

What Is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A can affect anyone. In the United States, hepatitis A can occur in situations ranging from isolated cases of disease to widespread epidemics.

Good personal hygiene and proper sanitation can help prevent hepatitis A. Vaccines are also available for long-term prevention of hepatitis A virus infection in persons 12 months of age and older.

 Cause of disease:

Hepatitis A virus (HAV)

 Signs & Symptoms:
          jaundice                            nausea
fatigue                             diarrhea
abdominal pain                  fever
loss of appetite  

 Adults will have signs and symptoms more often than children.

Long Term Affects of Hepatitis A
There is no chronic (long-term) infection.
Once you have had hepatitis A, you cannot get it again.
About 15% of people infected with HAV will have prolonged or relapsing symptoms over a 6-9 month period.
HAV is found in the stool (feces) of persons with hepatitis A. HAV is usually spread from person to person by putting something in the mouth (even though it might look clean) that has been contaminated with the stool of a person with hepatitis A.
Persons At Risk for Infection
Household contacts of infected persons
Sex contacts of infected persons
Persons, especially children, living in areas with increased rates of hepatitis A during the baseline period of 1987-1997
Travelers to
countries where hepatitis A is common
Men who have sex with men
Users of injection and non-injection drugs

Hepatitis A vaccine is the best protection.
Short-term protection against hepatitis A is available from immune globulin. It can be given before and within 2 weeks of coming in contact with HAV.
[immune globulin is NOT available at SFCHC]
Always wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing and eating food.

Vaccine Recommendations

Vaccine is recommended for the following persons from 12 months of age and older:
All children at age 1 year (i.e., 12–23 months)
Travelers to countries where hepatitis A is common
Men who have sex with men
Users of injection and non-injection drugs
Persons with clotting-factor disorders (e.g., hemophilia)
Persons with chronic liver disease
Children living in areas with increased rates of hepatitis A during the baseline period of 1987-1997
(view map)
Persons who work with HAV in a laboratory setting

Shots: Free to Adults and Children

Hepatitis A (at least 1 year old) Hepatitis B Hepatitis A/B
Tetinus/Diptheria Combo for adults Pertussis
Trends & Statistics
Hepatitis A occurs in epidemics both nationwide and in communities.
Before hepatitis A vaccine became available, the number of reported cases reached 35,000 per year.
In the late 1990s, hepatitis A vaccine was more widely used and the number of cases reached historic lows.
One-third of Americans have evidence of past infection (immunity).

A wealth of information, including research data, journal articles and editorials, is available at the CDC’s website for Emerging Infectious Diseases.  The information and articles posted at this website are available in 中国的  (Chinese), Français (French), Español (Spanish), and English.

A search engine is available at this website to locate information on infectious diseases.

Journal articles appear in each month’s issue involving research, dispatches, commentaries, letters (and editor’s responses), book reviews, news and notes.

You may download the current issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases Magazine and browse through the magazine at your leisure.  There are always links to other websites, articles, photos, research data, and authors.

VD – Venereal Disease
STDs – Sexually Transmitted Diseases
STIs – Sexually Transmitted Infections

Statistics show that 1 in every 2 sexually active young people will get a sexually transmitted disease (STD) by the age of 25. That means your odds of getting a sexually transmitted disease are at are 50% Will you be counted in those statistics?

Methods of transmission includes vaginal intercourse, anal sex and oral sex. Some STIs can also be contracted by using IV (intravenous) drug needles after they have been used by an infected person. These diseases can also be passed on through any incident involving the contact of an open wound with blood from an infected person. Sexually transmitted diseases may also be transmitted through childbirth or breastfeeding.

No matter what you say, when you tell your sexual partner that you have an infection, that makes for a BAD DAY!  Diseases that can be transmitted while having (sex) sexual intercourse are always bad news.

Prevention is Available!

The good news is most STDs are curable and are treatable. Although this is good news, it is good news in disguise.  Often when a someone is told that they may have a STD that was passed to them from their partner, the relationship is ruined beyond repair.  How would you feel if your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend or companion came to you and said, “I have something to talk to you about.  I have __________ (insert disease in the blank).  I may have given it to you.”  What would be your response to such a statement?  Social relationship are often strained or ruined at the announcement of transmission of a sexually transmitted disease. 

Common Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Chlamydia is an infection that is easily spread because there may be no symptoms and may be unknowingly passed back and forth between sexual partners. Both men and women may contract Chlamydia.   Many doctors recommend that people with more than one sex partner be tested for chlamydia regularly, even if they don’t have symptoms.  It is not easy to tell if you are infected with chlamydia since symptoms are not always apparent. But when they do occur, they are usually noticeable within one to three weeks of contact and can include the following:

 Chlamydia symptoms in women: Abnormal vaginal discharge that may have an odor Bleeding between periods Painful periods Abdominal pain with fever Pain when having sex Itching or burning in or around the vagina Pain when urinating

  Chlamydia symptoms in men:
  Small amounts of clear or cloudy discharge from the tip of the penis
  Painful urination
  Burning and itching around the opening of the penis
  Pain and swelling around the testicles

Gonorrhea can cause very serious complications when not treated, but can be cured with the right medication.You can get gonorrhea by having anal, vaginal, or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhea. A pregnant woman with gonorrhea can give the infection to her baby during childbirth.  Some women and men may never experience symptoms at all but still carry the disease.  Even if a woman has symptoms they are often mild and can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection.  Women with gonorrhea are at risk of developing serious complications from the infection, even if they don’t have symptoms.

  Gonorrhea symptoms in women:
  Painful or burning sensation when urinating
  Increased vaginal discharge
  Vaginal bleeding between periods.

  Gonorrhea symptoms in men:
  A burning sensation when urinating
  A white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis
  Painful or swollen testicles (although this is less common)

  Rectal infections may or may not have symptoms in women and men.  Symptoms include:
  Anal itching
  Painful bowel movements

Syphilis is a highly contagious disease spread primarily by sexual activity, including oral and anal sex. Occasionally, the disease can be passed to another person through prolonged kissing or close bodily contact. Although this disease is spread from sores, the vast majority of those sores go unrecognized. The infected person is often unaware of the disease and unknowingly passes it on to his or her sexual partner.  People with primary syphilis will develop one or more sores. The sores resemble large round bug bites and are often hard and painless. They occur on the genitals or in or around the mouth somewhere between 10-90 days (average three weeks) after exposure. Even without treatment they heal without a scar within six weeks.

There are three stages of syphilis:

 In the first (primary) stage, which usually starts about three weeks after exposure, a painless sore called achancre appears on the genitals, rectum, anus, or mouth. Lymph glands near the chancre may be swollen as well. The chancre lasts three to six weeks and will heal on its own. This does not mean that you are cured. Left untreated, the disease may progress to the second stage.

 In the second (secondary) stage, which occurs approximately two weeks to two months after the appearance of the painless sores, a non-itchy red or reddish-brown spotty rash may appear anywhere on the body (often on the palms of the hands and bottoms of the feet). You may have symptoms, such as headache, fever, fatigue, sore throat, muscle aches, swollen lymph glands, patchy hair loss, loss of appetite, weight loss, and pain in bones and joints (all of which could be symptoms of other diseases, as well). Symptoms may then disappear, but without treatment the bacteria remain in the body.

 In the third (late) stage, which can start anytime from one year to several decades later, joints may be affected, resulting in arthritis. The infection also can affect other specific parts of the body, including the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, bones, and liver. About 15 percent of people that have not been treated will develop late stage syphilis.

Trichomoniasis is also a common STD.  Although symptoms of this disease may vary, most women and men who have the parasite cannot tell they are infected.  Not only is this parasite transmitted during sexual intercourse but may be
 to other areas of the body:  hands, mouth and anus.

Some women have no symptoms. Symptoms usually appear 5 to 28 days after exposure and can include:

  Trichomoniasis symptoms in women:
  Yellow-green (sometimes frothy) vaginal discharge with a foul odor
  Discomfort during sex and when passing urine
  Irritation and itching in the genital area
  Lower abdominal pain in rare cases

  Trichomoniasis symptoms in men:
  Itching or irritation inside the penis
  Burning after urination or ejaculation
  Discharge from the penis

Hepatitis C is a liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Today, most people become infected with the Hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. Before 1992, when widespread screening of the blood supply began in the United States, Hepatitis C was also commonly spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants.

Hepatitis C can be either “acute” or “chronic.” Acute Hepatitis C virus infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the first 6 months after someone is exposed to the Hepatitis C virus. For most people, acute infection leads to chronic infection. Chronic Hepatitis C is a serious disease than can result in long-term health problems, or even death.

There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. The best way to prevent Hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, especially injection drug use.


Sexually Transmitted Diseases

It can’t happen to me! . . . at least you hope not. . .

All sexually active females under the age of 26
should be checked annually for Chlamydia

Half of all new STDs occur in 15-24 year-olds
In many instances, STD symptoms are not present and the STDs are spread unknowingly to sexual partners

Teens are more at risk than ever before!

This is. . . s c a r y  s t u f f !

Here is some basic information from the Centers for Disease Control.

Dr. Howell Wechsler, Director of the CDC Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH), provided an update on CDC’s adolescent sexual and reproductive health activities.
Of all high school students in the United States, 47% are sexually experienced.
  Persons 15-24 years of age account for nearly 50% or 9.1 million of all new STDs acquired each year.
 Based on data from 33 states with confidential name-based HIV infection reporting systems, an estimated 4,824 HIV cases occur annually among persons 15-24 years of age.
 Persons 15-19 years of age account for 831,000 of all pregnancies that occur each year.

Recent trends in STD, HIV and teen pregnancies are summarized as follows.
 Since the early 1990s, the percent of sexually active youth has decreased and the use of condoms and contraception has increased among sexually active youth.
 Improved screening has led to increased rates of some STDs.
 Pregnancy rates have decreased overall, but smaller reductions were seen in ethnic/minority  youth. Most recent data suggest that rates are not continuing to decrease and have remained level in most states.

Racial/ethnic populations are disproportionately affected by these trends.
 The rate of sexual intercourse is 68% among AA high school students compared to 51% among hispanics and 43% among whites.
 AA adolescents represent 70% of all HIV/AIDS cases among persons 13-19 years of age. Data from 2004 showed that Hispanics accounted for ~83% of teen births compared to 61% among AAs and ~27% among whites. The 47% decline in teen birth rates among AAs was the largest compared to whites and Hispanics.

Is she talking about me?

Dr. Sara Forhan, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said,
“What we found is alarming!”
She states,”One in four female adolescents in the U.S. has at least one of the
four most common STDs that affects women.”

These common STDs include:
                         Human papillomavirus (HPV)                         Chlamydia
                         Herpes simplex virus                                   Trichomoniasis

 HPV and chlamydia are the most common STDs found among teenage girls, Forhan said. “Almost one in five overall had a strain of HPV associated with cervical cancer or genital warts,” she said.

 As for chlamydia, 4 percent of teenaged girls had this STD, Forhan said. “The majority of chlamydia infections do not have symptoms. If left untreated, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which leaves these young women at risk for atopic pregnancy, chronic pelvic pain or infertility,” she said. In addition, the study found that 2.9 percent of young women had trichomoniasis, and 2 percent were infected with genital herpes, Forhan said.

 According to Forhan, about 50 percent of the teens reported having sex, and the prevalence of STDs in this group was 40 percent. “Even for young women with only one reported lifetime sexual partner, one in five had an STD,” she noted.   “If you choose to be sexually active, you need to protect yourself and be screened for these infections,” Alderman said. “And all girls between the ages of 11 and 26 should get vaccinated for HPV.” “Among women with an STD, 15 percent had more than one infection”, Forhan added.

Have you had your screening yet?  Why not?
Are you waiting for a “friend” to tell you that they got an STD from you?

“We need to be screening adolescent girls who are sexually active and providing them with HPV vaccine,” Alderman said.  Dr. Elizabeth Alderman is an adolescent medicine specialist at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York City and chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Section of Adolescent Health of the American Academy of Pediatrics.”The recommendations are to screen sexually active girls, but many girls don’t disclose to their health-care provider that they are sexually active, even when asked,” she said.

For more information concering STDs, visit these web sites

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

STD Awareness

Communicable Disease Testing & Counseling

The St. Francois County Health Center, Communicable Disease Department offers testing and counseling for Sexually Transmitted Diseases

HIV/AIDS and STD’s – Sexually Transmitted Diseases Testing and Counseling are confidential.  Testing for STD’s and HIV/AIDS is available by appointment only!  This protects client confidentiality and ensures that appropriate staff are available when you visit. HIV and Syphilis testing is free.  Cost for other STD testing will vary. Please call for current charges.

      * HIV/AIDS Case Management   –   Click the HIV/AIDS link here

The St. Francois County Health Center, Communicable Disease Department offers testing,
counseling, and treatment for Tuberculosis.  Please call our office at
(573)431-1947 ext. 141 for any charges that may occur

      * Tuberculosis Treatment   –                     * Tuberculosis Testing     –    

A variety of lab tests are available at St.Francois County Health Center
All blood work labs are by appointment only
Please call for current charges on testing
(573)431-1947 Ext. 141
Sexually Transmitted Disease

Gonorrhea    Chlamydia   Syphilis   HIV/AIDS Herpes

Infectious Disease Reporting

  To report an infectious disease, please call the St.Francois County Health Center @ 573-431-1947 ext 141 between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday

or contact 

To contact the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Preventiontype into your  web browser window.

St. Francois County Health Center offers confidential testing and counseling for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s) and HIV/AIDS.

You have questions?  We have answers!  Call SFCHC at 573-431-1947,ext 141

National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention