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Contact Tracers

Overview

Infectious diseases are caused by organisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. They can be passed from person to person, be transmitted to humans by insects and other animals, or be passed on to humans when they consume contaminated water or food or are exposed to organisms in the environment. Examples of infectious diseases include measles, smallpox, tuberculosis, chickenpox, sexually transmitted diseases (such as syphilis), SARS, Ebola, and COVID-19. Contact tracers are public health professionals who track the spread of infectious diseases. They identify and alert people who may have come in contact with an infected person in order to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the disease, encourage them to take actions to monitor and protect their health, encourage them to quarantine for a set period of time, and follow up with them to ensure that they are receiving the resources they need to be healthy and thrive during quarantine. The use of contact tracing helps to slow and eventually stop the spread of infectious diseases, allows those who are infected to receive medical care and be isolated from healthy people, and lessens the burden on hospitals (which can be quickly overwhelmed when large number of people become infected at one time). Contact tracing is most effective in the early stages of an infectious disease outbreak, although it is used in combination with "shelter in place" edicts and other containment strategies throughout the course of outbreaks.  It is estimated that there are only 2,000 contact tracers in the United States, with an additional 5,000 or so other public health professionals who perform contact tracing work as part of their other health care duties.

 

Salary Range

$25,000 to $75,000

Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma

Certification/License

None

Outlook

Faster than the Average
Personality Traits

Hands On

Helpful

Organized

Career Ladder
Epidemiologist or Other Public Health Worker

Case Investigator

Contact Tracer

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