COMMUNICABLE DISEASE CONTROL
Information and resources available to help guard against the spread of the flu
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that will be a particularly heavy flu season. The number of flu cases typically peaks In January and February.
Recently, CDC issued a health advisory saying that the vaccine developed for 2014-2015 is less effective than usual; however, CDC encourages everyone, especially school personnel, to still get vaccinated because children are among the most vulnerable to the disease.
Complete information about the flu and how to contain and manage it is available at www.flu.gov and www.cdc.gov/flu. Additionally, district and school leaders, teachers, students, and others are reminded to:
- Wash hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth;
- Avoid close contact with those who are already sick;
- Get plenty of sleep;
- Eat healthy food and drink plenty of fluids;
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or the crook of your arm; and
- Stay home if ill for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone.
The Readiness Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center also has useful resources and information for addressing infectious disease planning for use in developing a comprehensive emergency operations plan (EOP). Districts and schools may want to review their EOPs with public health authorities, as well as plan for continuity of teaching and learning during school dismissal, in preparation for the height of the flu season or other infectious disease outbreaks. As with all health-related instances, districts and schools should maintain the privacy and identity of individual students and teachers in conformity with applicable privacy laws.
Epidemiology plays a vital role in monitoring, preventing, investigating, and controlling infectious and communicable diseases in Estill County. An infectious disease can be transmitted from person to person, or animal to human, by direct contact with body fluids, ingesting, contaminated food or water, inhalation of contaminated air, or the bite of an infected insect.
Examples of infectious and communicable diseases are:
- West Nile Virus
- Legionnaires’ disease
- Bacterial meningitis
- Salmonellosis (Salmonella)
- E. coli.
In Kentucky, health care providers and laboratories are required by law to report infectious and communicable diseases to the local health department serving the jurisdiction in which the patient resides. Each reported disease requires an investigation by the Epidemiology unit to determine a source of infection, whether additional individuals need to be contacted and to provide education to the patient regarding their illness.
Data Surveillance and Tracking
Public Health Surveillance is the collection, investigation, and distribution of data about illness and death. This surveillance helps prevent and control disease in Estill County. Surveillance is used to protect and improve the health of the public by:
- Describing disease trends
- Identifying and controlling the sources of infection
- Educating the public
- Preventing disease
- Disease Education
The health department can provide educational FAQ sheets on a variety of conditions that can be provided to staff, students, or employees. For information on the transmission, prevention, and treatment of communicable diseases, please call 606-723-5181.
Epidemiology endorses proper hand washing as the most effective way to stop the spread of germs. To learn more information about hand washing and proper hand washing procedure please click on the links below.
Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives
Handwashing: A Family Activity
Handwashing: The Most Important Food Poisoning Prevention
Handwashing: When and How to Wash Your Hands
Physicians, hospitals, and laboratories report communicable diseases as required by 902 KAR 2:020 to the epidemiology unit of the health department. Qualified health department staff persons provide an investigation of the cases and report the communicable diseases to the state office which reports to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Staff can be reached for reporting or for consultation by calling 606-723-5181.
The links below provide documents that outline the reporting process, what to report, and how to report it. In addition to the diseases listed, an outbreak of any nature is required to be reported including foodborne illnesses.
List of Reportable Diseases
EPID-200 Kentucky Reportable Disease Form
CDC Case Definitions (Not all of the conditions in the CDC Case Definitions are reportable in Kentucky.
Please use the list of reportable diseases to determine what and when to report.)