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Disease Intervention Specialists (DIS)

A person diagnosed with or potentially exposed to a reportable disease may receive a phone call from an Alaska Section of Epidemiology disease intervention specialist (DIS), who will work with the individual to ensure that they have been appropriately tested and treated for their infection, discuss how to reduce the chances of being re-infected, and identify other people who may benefit from testing and treatment. DIS follow strict confidentially laws that prevent them from revealing their source of information to other patients. DIS may contact people by phone calls, text messages, in-person visits, confidential letters, or private social media messenger services.

During the interview, DIS may ask about a person’s sexual, social, or drug use history. These questions help DIS identify and inform other persons who may have been exposed to an infectious disease and to help us better understand risk factors that may be contributing to disease transmission in Alaska. The information provided during the interview process is completely confidential, which means that the DIS will not reveal the person’s name or any other personal information to others who have been identified as sexual contacts. Moreover, the DIS will not reveal when or where the potential disease exposure took place.

If You Are Contacted by a DIS

If you receive a phone call, text message, private social media message, or other communication requesting you to contact a DIS about an important health issue, you may call the Alaska Section of Epidemiology at (907) 269-8000 to confirm the identity of the public health worker. Alternatively, you may use the State of Alaska Employee Directory to confirm a health worker’s name and contact information. DIS who you meet in person will always have a photo ID that identifies them as working for the Alaska Division of Public Health.