Annual Summary of Communicable Diseases Reported to the Minnesota Department of Health, 2015
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2015: Volume 43, Number 1 (PDF)
Assessment of the population’s health is a core public health function. Surveillance for communicable diseases is one type of assessment. Epidemiologic surveillance is the systematic collection, analysis, and dissemination of health data for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of health programs. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) collects information on infectious diseases for the purposes of determining disease impact, assessing trends in disease occurrence, characterizing affected populations, prioritizing control efforts, and evaluating prevention strategies. Prompt reporting allows outbreaks to be recognized in a timely fashion when control measures are most likely to be effective in preventing additional cases.
In Minnesota, communicable disease reporting is centralized, whereby reporting sources submit standardized reports to MDH. Cases of disease are reported pursuant to Minnesota Rules Governing Communicable Diseases (Minnesota Rules 4605.7000 -4605.7800). The diseases listed in Table 1 must be reported to MDH. As stated in the rules, physicians, health care facilities, laboratories, veterinarians, and others are required to report these diseases. Reporting sources may designate an individual within an institution to perform routine reporting duties (e.g., an infection preventionist for a hospital). Data maintained by MDH are private and protected under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (Section 13.3805).
Since April 1995, MDH has participated as an Emerging Infections Program (EIP) site funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and, through this program, has implemented active hospital- and laboratory-based surveillance for several conditions, including selected invasive bacterial diseases, foodborne diseases, tickborne diseases, and hospitalized influenza cases.
Isolates of pathogens from certain diseases are required to be submitted to MDH (Table 1: Minnesota Rules Governing Communicable Diseases (Minnesota Rules 4605.7000 -4605.7800). The MDH Public Health Laboratory (PHL) performs microbiologic evaluation of isolates, such as pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing, to determine whether isolates (e.g., enteric pathogens such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli O157:H7, and invasive pathogens such as Neisseria meningitidis) are related, and potentially associated with a common source. Testing of submitted isolates also allows detection and monitoring of antimicrobial resistance, which continues to be an important problem (see pp. 28-29).
Table 2 (see: 2015: Volume 43, Number 1 (PDF)) summarizes cases of selected communicable diseases reported during 2015 by district of the patient’s residence. Pertinent observations for some of these diseases are presented below. Incidence rates in this report were calculated using disease-specific numerator data collected by MDH and a standardized set of denominator data derived from U.S. Census data. Disease incidence is categorized as occurring within the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area (metropolitan area) or outside of it in Greater Minnesota.