PPHD strives to prevent the incidence of disease by promoting healthy communities, families and individuals through communicable disease surveillance.
The purpose of surveillance is to detect, promptly investigate and monitor the occurrence and distribution of disease. Timely recognition of the disease within the community, coupled with rapid investigation, enables the proper implementation of prevention and control activities. These activities can contain the spread of disease within the population, reducing the risk of disease transmission before the illness becomes a major public health crisis. Effective surveillance systems also play a role in identifying emerging infectious diseases, acts of bioterrorism, and potential influenza pandemics, as well as providing a basis for evaluating the outcome of public health prevention programs.
Communicable disease surveillance includes but is not limited to foodborne illness, vaccine-preventable diseases, influenza, vector borne diseases, and animal related diseases such as rabies and West Nile virus. The diseases and conditions that fall under the category of communicable disease are quite diverse but can be identified by the following characteristics: they are contracted from the human living environment, including disease passed from person to person, food or water, animals, or insects.
Human Living Environment
Reportable conditions or diseases contracted from inside the home. Examples include contracting a disease from a swimming pool or a failed septic system (human sewage), or contracting an infectious disease such as meningitis or chicken pox.
Food or Water
This includes reportable disease or conditions contracted from food
(food poisoning) or contaminated drinking water.
Reportable diseases or conditions contracted from pets, domestic animals or wildlife. Examples include: contracting a diseasefrom a pet or reptile, becoming ill from unpasteurized milk, being bitten by a rabid bat, etc.
This includes reportable diseases or conditions contracted from insects. Examples Include: diseases contracted from ticks, mosquitoes and etc.
PPHD also participates in a School Surveillance Program. This program tracks and reports the absenteeism of ill students throughout the school year for all ten counties in the PPHD district. School surveillance for early detection of illness is done on a weekly basis and is reported to Nebraska Health and Human Services in Lincoln every Wednesday. Tracking of specific symptoms and illnesses in children enables public health to determine if there is an outbreak or a public health emergency in a timely manner.
West Nile Virus Surveillance
West Nile Surveillance involves the collection of mosquitoes, dead birds and follow-ups with persons who have tested positive for West Nile Virus. Information on West Nile Surveillance and reports are available at http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/wnv.aspx
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Zika is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. Symptoms of Zika are similar to other viruses spread through mosquito bites, like dengue and chikungunya.
Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week. See your doctor or other healthcare provider if you develop symptoms and you live in or have recently traveled to an area with Zika. Your doctor or other healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya. Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.
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Updated: October 30, 2017
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