Communicable Diseases

Communicable Diseases


Communicable diseases, also known as infectious diseases or transmissible diseases, are illnesses that result from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic (capable of causing disease) biologic agents in an individual human or other animal host. Infections may range in severity from asymptomatic (without symptoms) to severe and fatal. The term infection does not have the same meaning as infectious disease because some infections do not cause illness in a host.


Disease causing biologic agents include viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, multicellular parasites, and aberrant proteins known as prions. Transmission of these biologic agents can occur in a variety of ways, including direct physical contact with an infectious person, consuming contaminated foods or beverages, contact with contaminated body fluids, contact with contaminated inanimate objects, airborne (inhalation), or being bitten by an infected insect or tick. Some disease agents can be transmitted from animals to humans, and some of these agents can be transmitted in more than one way.


Disease Reporting


Wisconsin has communicable disease reporting requirements that support public health’s responsibilities to control the incidence and spread of communicable diseases in our state. Certain diseases are considered to have significant public health impact, and any confirmed or suspected cases must be reported promptly.


To report a communicable disease or public health emergency, please call the Health Department at 608-930-9870. In the event of an emergency after hours, please call the Iowa County Sheriff’s Department at 608-930-9500 Ext. 2.

List of Reportable Diseases

Wisconsin Childhood Communicable Diseases

Division of Public Health, Bureau of Communicable Diseases

Public Health’s Role


  • Detect and report cases of significant infectious disease.
  • Investigate the circumstances of each case.
  • Provide pertinent information to families and communities.
  • Recommend and implement measures to control the spread of disease.


Communicable Disease Prevention


  • Good handwashing technique
  • Cough and sneeze etiquette
  • Stay up to date on all vaccines
  • Stay home when sick and avoid others who are sick
  • Good cleaning and disinfecting techniques on commonly used surfaces

For more information:


Wisconsin Department of Health Services Communicable Diseases

Wisconsin Communicable Disease Reporting Requirements 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Immunizations 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services STD Information

Wisconsin Department of Health Services COVID-19

General Information
Phone Numbers
(608) 930-9870
Emergencies: Dial 911
303 W. Chapel St.
Suite 2200

Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm