The Butte Silver Bow Health Department does its share of solving mysteries with the goal of stopping the spread of disease in Southwest Montana.

Terri Hocking, a registered nurse and director of public health nursing services at the Butte Silver Bow Health Department, said the list of diseases deemed reportable to the health department includes whooping cough, meningitis, encephalitis, tuberculosis, salmonella, E. coli, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Investigation plans depend on the disease being tracked. In the case of the whooping cough bacteria, health department investigators will often interview household members and family contacts, expanding their circle of coverage to include work or school associates as they track the path of a disease causing organism. In some cases, those exposed to a disease are given antibiotics to prevent them from becoming ill and decrease the risk of them spreading the disease to others.