The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has recognized the Fairfax County Health Department’s Acute Communicable and Emerging Diseases Program team as an “Infection Prevention and Control Champion.”

The Fairfax program “is a model for building, maintaining and leveraging partnerships with critical facilities to respond swiftly and effectively to outbreaks, support implementation of infection prevention and control measures, and deliver education to local facilities,” said NACCHO CEO Lori Tremmel Freeman.

“It’s an honor to be nominated and to receive Infection Prevention and Control Champion recognition. I am incredibly proud of our team, partners and community to see our work over the past five years recognized,” said Barbara Downes, manager of the Acute Communicable and Emerging Diseases Program of the county government’s Division of Epidemiology and Population Health.

“Infection prevention and control save lives,” Downes said. “Our community is the reason we do what we do, we are fulfilling our Health Department’s mission to protect, promote, and improve quality of life. Every one of us has a role in infection prevention and control for a healthier, better-informed community.”

The Fairfax County Acute Communicable and Emerging Diseases Program team, established in 2017, is responsible for conducting surveillance, disease prevention and outbreak control for all reportable conditions (except tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections and rabies), antimicrobial resistance, healthcare-associated infection prevention, and outbreak response.

During the COVID-19 era, the team’s interactions with health-care facilities have expanded to include surveillance and reporting, more frequent site visits with an emphasis on ensuring compliance with mitigation measures, assessment of personal protective equipment use and other infection-prevention measures, outbreak investigations, and testing and vaccination support.

NACCHO represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local health departments at the city, county, metropolitan, district and tribal level. For information, see the Website at

[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

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