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.