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Wisconsin Department of Health Services



Division of Public Health Bureau of Communicable Diseases and Emergency Response (BCDER)

BCDER is responsible for the prevention and control of communicable diseases in Wisconsin, public health and hospital preparedness, and coordination, classification of level 3 and 4 trauma centers, and licensing of emergency medical services. The Bureau provides surveillance and epidemiological follow-up of more than 70 reportable communicable diseases. It is also responsible for monitoring scientific advances in the field of communicable disease prevention and control research, and for incorporating those that are appropriate into public health practice. The bureau responsibilities are allocated to the following sections:

AIDS/HIV - which coordinates the state’s public health response to the AIDS/HIV epidemic including surveillance and epidemiologic investigation; HIV testing and referral, partner services, education and risk reduction activities; case management and Ryan White funded care services; and AIDS drug assistance and health insurance premium subsidy programs. It is also responsible for Adult Hepatitis prevention and control.

Communicable Disease Epidemiology - responsible for maintaining and improving the surveillance system for communicable diseases. The section has specific responsibility for the epidemiologic investigation and response to tuberculosis, food/water/vector borne diseases, zoonotic diseases, suspected communicable disease outbreaks, and emerging and re-emerging diseases. It also provides infection control consultation to the health care provider community and technical assistance on health risks and health care needs of refugees and other populations arriving in the United States.

Immunization - responsible for preventing those communicable diseases for which immunizations are available. The program provides vaccines and technical assistance to health care providers, conducts surveillance and investigation of vaccine preventable diseases, operates the Wisconsin Immunization Registry designed to keep track of immunization histories for Wisconsin citizens, and conducts educational activities to encourage prompt and complete immunization. The section implements the state law that requires certain immunizations for children entering day care centers and schools. It is also responsible for Wisconsin’s use of the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile and conduct of mass immunization/prophylaxis in the event of an emergency.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases– responsible for prevention and control of five reportable sexually transmitted diseases; coordinates the state’s public health response to the STD epidemic including reporting, surveillance, epidemiologic interviewing and investigation, screening, testing, treatment, partner referral and partner services. The five reportable sexually transmitted diseases are chancroid, Chlamydia trachomatis infection, gonorrhea, sexually transmitted pelvic inflammatory disease, and syphilis. Statewide educational efforts are provided to reduce risky sexual behavior and the risk of infection, and re-infection with sexually transmitted diseases. Section staff provide consultation and technical assistance to local health departments and private health care providers on testing, diagnosis, treatment, and epidemiologic interviewing and investigation of patients, sex partners, and other at-risk individuals infected with or exposed to sexually transmitted diseases.

Emergency Health Care and Preparedness - supports and enhances the capacity of the state, local public health departments/Tribes, and the healthcare system to prepare for public health threats and emergencies through planning, exercising, responding and training. Functions include planning, coordination and responsibility for: grant management/contract administration; pandemic influenza; the Strategic National Stockpile, performance measures and requirements, including training, drills, exercises and After Action reports, communication (routine, risk, media), partnering and outreach, liaison roles with other public and private agencies, local health departments/tribes, hospitals ,workgroups, expert panels and committees, Volunteer Registry, partner communication and alerting and WI Train (e-learning management system). The Section includes the State Trauma Program whose mission is to ensure that all trauma patients in the State of Wisconsin receive comprehensive trauma care, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) which oversees all licensing, education, training, policy and practice issues related to emergency medical services, manages ambulance service provider grants, and coordinates EMS activities statewide. It is responsible for assuring that pre-hospital patient care standards are met; evaluating the effectiveness of services provided; and following-up on deviations from care standards and other state regulations.

The Bureau maintains a close working relationship with local health departments, tribes, health care providers, a wide variety of community-based direct service agencies, as well as with other state and federal agencies, including Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Agriculture, US Food and Drug Administration, and the US Health Resources and Service Administration.

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Last Revised:  August 15, 2014