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Protect the Population from Communicable Diseases

Protecting the population from communicable diseases is one of seven priority areas from Oregon's State Health Improvement Plan. Progress is updated annually.

Progress Report for this Priority (2016)


Communicable diseases continue to affect the health of individuals and communities throughout Oregon. This priority area focuses on protecting the population from foodborne illness, healthcare-associated infections, sexually transmitted infections and hepatitis C.

  • Foodborne illness affects 1 in 6 Americans (48 million people) each year. Of these, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 will die. The annual economic burden of foodborne illness is $77.7 billion in the United States.
  • Healthcare-associated infections in hospital patients can result in the need for additional treatment, more days in the hospital, stronger or more antibiotics, and higher costs to patients and the health care system. Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is the leading cause of health care-associated infection, and it is spreading into community settings. CDI causes half a million infections and 14,000 deaths annually, and adds more than $1 billion in health care costs in the United States.
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a significant health problem in the U.S., with nearly 20 million new cases every year. STIs pose a threat to immediate and long-term health and well-being. In addition to increasing a person’s risk for acquiring and transmitting HIV infection, STIs can lead to severe reproductive health complications. STIs lead to nearly $16 billion in annual health care costs.
  • Of every 100 people infected with hepatitis C, about 75 to 85 will become chronically infected. This can lead to serious health problems such as liver disease, liver failure and liver cancer.

Key Strategies

Population interventions

  • Reduce infections caused by pathogens commonly transmitted through food
  • Reduce spread of emerging pathogens
  • Reduce non-judicious antibiotic prescribing
  • Reduce and control the spread of Tuberculosis
  • Identify people living with HIV who have not been receiving HIV-proficient care, and support engagement in care

Health equity interventions

  • Reduce new hepatitis C infections among African Americans, American Indians and other disproportionately affected groups
  • Reduce norovirus infections in long-term care facilities
  • Promote routine syphilis screening for men who have sex with men

Health system interventions

  • Create incentives for private and public health plans and health care providers to prevent communicable diseases
  • Promote annual chlamydia screening of women aged 15 to 24 by health care providers
  • Promote use of expedited partner therapies by health care providers and local health departments
  • Improve hospital capacity to detect and prevent health care-associated infections

Priority Targets

Measure Baseline Current Data 2020 Target Data Source
Hospital-onset Clostridium difficile infections

Standardized Infection Ration (SIR) 0.76


SIR 0.88


SIR 0.57

National Healthcare Safety Network
Rate of Gonorrhea infections in Oregon residents

79.2 cases per 100,000 residents


80.4 cases per 100,000 residents


72 cases per 100,000 residents

Proportion of people living with HIV in Oregon that have a suppressed viral load within the previous 12 months








HIV infections in Oregon residents

5.8 cases per 100,000 residents


5.3 cases per 100,000 residents


4.5 cases per 100,000 residents

Infections caused by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli 0157

1.6 cases per 100,000 residents


2.7 cases per 100,000 residents


0.6 cases per 100,000 residents Orpheus
Rate of early syphilis infections in Oregon residents (primary, secondary and early latent infections)

10.4 cases per 100,000 residents


14.1 cases per 100,000 residents


11.1 cases per 100,000 residents Orpheus
Incidence of TB disease among US born persons

0.7 cases per 100,000 residents


0.7 cases per 100,000 residents


0.4 cases per 100,000 residents


CDC NTIP reports

Measure status:Key: Green=on target, Yellow=some risk, Red=not on target, White=unknown

Related Resources from the Oregon Public Health Division

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