Communicable Disease Control

About Communicable Diseases

A communicable (infectious) disease is one that can be passed directly or indirectly from person to person. Infectious disease is a constant threat to all people, regardless of age, sex, lifestyle, ethnic background or social status. Although modern advances have controlled some infectious diseases, new diseases continue to emerge.

Reporting a Disease

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and the national Centers for Disease Control (CDC) mandate that all cases of certain communicable diseases be reported so they can be tracked at the state and national levels. Public health nurses in the Lowell Health Department play a critical role in the coordination, management, tracking and reporting of communicable disease cases. These dedicated health professionals contact, interview and provide education, support and case management to those who have been diagnosed or affected by a communicable disease. The public health division of the Health Department identifies trends of emerging disease outbreak and provides community education and support.


Immunization is one of the most powerful tools in our efforts to prevent and eliminate infectious diseases. Massachusetts is one of only ten states in the nation that participate in the Universal Childhood Vaccine Distribution Program. This program provides free vaccines to those providers who participate in the program. Vaccines are distributed to local physicians, nursing homes, and clinics.
  1. Bats & Rabies

    Learn more about bats and rabies including what to do if you find one in your attic and how to handle a bat.

  2. Immunization Information

    Vaccinations save the lives of more than 3 million people worldwide each year and prevent millions of others from suffering from diseases and permanent disabilities. Vaccinations help keep children and adults healthy.

  3. Influenza (Flu) Information

    Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus that spreads easily from person to person. When people with flu cough or sneeze, the flu virus is in the wet spray that comes out of their nose and mouth.

  4. Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Initiative

    Pertussis, also known as "whooping cough" is a bacterial infection that is especially dangerous to infants. Infants can catch pertussis through a simple cough or a sneeze.

  5. Tuberculosis

    Due to the global nature of our community, tuberculosis (TB) is of particular concern to the City of Lowell Health Department. Lowell’s public health nurses coordinate the management of tuberculosis cases, in accordance with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) requirements.