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KCHD’s Service Spotlight: Epidemiology Team
September 14, 2021

KNOXVILLE — A major part of understanding health-related events is monitoring infectious diseases to limit transmission. That’s where the KCHD Epidemiology team comes in. There are 54 reportable diseases that are required by law to be reported to public health authorities. Some of those include measles, Lyme disease, tetanus, rabies and most recently, COVID-19. For all reportable diseases, KCHD’s epidemiology team interviews each case to determine likely sources and risk factors for contracting the disease, to ensure the patient receives adequate treatment and education about preventing transmission.

“This system has been used to help all of our outbreak responses by identifying at-risk populations,” said Roberta Sturm, director of communicable and environmental disease and emergency preparedness. “The most important component of my work is protecting the community and providing, analyzing and collecting information to reduce the spread of disease.”

If you have tested positive for a reportable disease, you will be speaking to a contact tracer. It’s vital that you provide all the information you can to assist with contact tracing as that will limit the spread of disease to those around you.

Additionally, the continual gathering of data through surveillance, investigations and surveys allows the EPI Program to produce a variety of reports that help inform the community about the state of health in Knox County. One such report, KCHD’s Community Health Assessment, serves as the basis for outlining priority health issues in Knox County and is used by a variety of groups, including medical providers, nonprofit organizations, and hospitals to inform their work.

Other EPI reports and data can be reviewed online.

For more information on Knox County Health Department, visit

Previous Spotlights:
Environmental Health Air Quality Division
New Diabetes Prevention Program
Community Health Access and Navigation in Tennessee
Emergency Preparedness Division
Safe Routes to School
Back to School Vaccines
Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week
Food Safety for Summer
Keeping Babies Safe
Childhood Nutrition Promotion
Free dental health event for children
Clinical Health Services
Community Health
Tobacco Use Prevention and Control

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