Chapter six of "The Health of Massachusetts" explores the work of the Department’s Bureau of Infectious Disease Prevention, Response and Services. The bureau is responsible for preventing, observing, and controlling more than 90 infectious diseases and conditions across the state including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, Lyme disease, and West Nile virus.
In the 1960s and 1970s, public health experts thought that many infectious diseases were all but conquered in the United States by successful sanitation, vaccines, antibiotics and infection control measures. However, this optimism was short-lived, as new diseases emerged and old ones adapted to our efforts to control them.
We know that successful prevention and control of infectious diseases is built on a foundation of disease surveillance. Surveillance shows what diseases are happening, where they are taking place, and who is getting them. Surveillance data can also show how effective our efforts are in controlling disease.
Through the years, surveillance of infectious diseases has become highly efficient and increasingly accurate, yet the ever-changing ways the diseases impact our residents provides an ongoing challenge for prevention programs and clinical services. Learn more on our website at: www.mass.gov/dph/healthofmassachusetts.