What We Do

The program’s core functions are health promotion and disease prevention. Public health nurses are responsible for tuberculosis prevention and control, coordinating the annual distribution of flu vaccine to medical providers, and conducting citywide flu and COVID-19 vaccination clinics. Public health nurses also follow up on and monitor treatment for diseases that by law must be reported to local health departments. These include COVID-19, Pertussis (whooping cough), Meningitis, and common foodborne illnesses such as Salmonella and Campylobacter.

In addition, the nurses work with shelters, child care centers, schools, and local businesses to provide health care support, education, and guidance for Cambridge residents and workers. The nurses conduct community workshops about hygiene, infection control, wellness, and healthy lifestyles. The health department provides medical backup to several Cambridge child care centers and advises them on best practices and disease prevention.

Info Line

If you have questions about a communicable disease, please call the department’s Public Health Nursing Program at 617-665-3800.

Disease Reporting

To report a suspected or diagnosed communicable disease case or foodborne illness:

  • Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m: Call the Cambridge Public Health Department, 617-665-3826.
  • After hours & holidays: Call the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 617-983-6800.

Updated: May 3, 2022