City of Austin Performance Report 2014-15

Percent of All Reportable Infectious Diseases that Result in a Disease Intervention

Measure Description
This measure helps to monitor overall health in our community by addressing infectious disease as well as implementation of measures to stop the spread of disease through recommendation and preventive post-exposure measures. It represents the percent of all state-reportable infectious disease that result in an investigation and intervention by the Epidemiology and Statistics Unit over the fiscal year.
Calculation Method
This measure is calculated by dividing the number cases with an intervention strategy implemented divided by the total number of cases that are reported in the National Electronic Data Surveillance System.
FY 2014-15 Results
The FY 2014-15 goal was 70% and the actual was 82%, which was a 12% increase over the target and above the FY 2010-11 high of 78%.
Assessment of Results
The determination of a reportable infectious disease is influenced by a variety of factors, including historical knowledge of the disease itself as well as presence in our community, communicability of disease, interventions available to prevent disease spread, staffing availability, and state-required investigations. HHSD added a fulltime Foodborne Epidemiologist position funded through the Texas Department of State Health Services, increasing the program’s ability to investigate additional cases as warranted for the public’s safety. In FY 2014-15, all Salmonella reports were investigated. In addition, our community experienced a cyclosporiasis outbreak (a parasitic gastrointestinal disease) that increased the number of investigations. Also, more chickenpox cases were investigated than in prior years. In total, 2,115 cases were investigated by the Epidemiology and Heath Statistics staff in FY 2015-16, up from 1,641 cases investigated in FY 2013-14.
Mother and six children smiling at the doctors office.
Next Steps
The City Council increased funding in FY 2015-16 for an additional epidemiologist position. According to the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, there should be 1 epidemiologist per 100,000 population. Epidemiology and disease surveillance capability needs to keep pace with the increases in population growth and disease prevalence. Public threats such as Zika, Ebola, novel H1N1, and other high consequence infectious diseases, are ever-evolving. HHSD currently has 7 positions to cover 1.2 million people. The target goal for FY 2015-16 has been adjusted to 80% to reflect both the additional work provided by the new position and current trends.
Contact Information
For more information contact Janet Pichette, Chief Epidemiologist at (512) 972-5468.