This division maintains records and tracks the prevalence of diseases in Fort Bend County. The data gathered from this effort is vital in predicting and preparing for seasonal disease incidence, as well as recognizing new or ongoing threats.
During outbreaks, Epidemiology staff conduct phone inquiries and on-site investigations. They attempt to identify the health status of affected individuals, where they traveled, the food they ate, who they’ve made contact with, and when they began to show symptoms.
Investigations often cannot start until Fort Bend Health and Human Services has been notified by a hospital, physician, or laboratory of a case; meaning a span of time has already passed before investigations can begin. This adds to the time for recognition of any outbreak.
Although the cost of a disease is often measured in the numbers of deaths and hospitalizations, the staff-hours involved in tracking and treating an illness, as well as educating and promoting awareness, is a significant part of every disease incident.