SITUATION AWARENESS BRIEFING: Deadly MERS Virus Hits Uncomfortably Close To Home

International Travel Brings Dangerous Diseases to Our Doorstep

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a potentially fatal virus which has now sickened hundreds in 12 countries and carries a fatality rate of more than 30 percent. In 2012, health officials from the Arabian Peninsula reported the first cases of what is now called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a potentially fatal virus which has now sickened hundreds in 12 countries and carries a fatality rate of more than 30 percent.

Health Department Urges Protection Against Lyme Disease, Other Tickborne Illnesses

Health Department Urges Protection Against Lyme Disease, Other Tickborne Illnesses

With the arrival of warmer weather, the Will County Health Department urges hunters, campers, hikers, and others who spend time outdoors to be especially mindful of the risks posed by Lyme Disease and its potential complications.  Lyme Disease is known to have infected more than 300,000 Americans since 1982, and scientists believe that total represents only a fraction of the actual incidence.
Please Don't Feed The Animals

Please Don't Feed The Animals

Wild Animals Can Carry Dangerous Diseases

If you live in Will County, you have probably seen deer, coyotes, foxes, and other wildlife frolicking not far from your home. Local population growth has reduced animal living space and forced wildlife to seek shelter in, or very near residential communities.  Lee Schild D.V.M. believes animals and humans can still coexist peacefully, but he knows that humans need to make sure wild animals don't get too close.
Illinois Department of Public Health:  Infection Control Measures for Health-Care Facilities during Flooding, Sewage Intrusion or Other Water-Related Emergencies

Illinois Department of Public Health: Infection Control Measures for Health-Care Facilities during Flooding, Sewage Intrusion or Other Water-Related Emergencies

IDPH is closely monitoring the flood waters in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is closely monitoring the flood waters in Illinois.  The purpose of this 3-page memorandum is to help promote awareness of infection control recommendations for health-care facilities from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) that are published in the "Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities" (2003) available at http://www.cdc.gov/hicpac/pdf/guidelines/eic_in_HCF_03.pdf  

Influenza Activity in Illinois is Now Confined to Local Outbreaks

Influenza Has Peaked According to the CDC

This article contains updates to the article posted February 20, 2013.

According to the CDC, the influenza outbreak that was so widespread during much of the winter has peaked and activity has decreased in most parts of the U.S. During the latest reporting period (the week ending March 3-9), there were no states reporting high influenza-like activity. According to the latest Overview of Influenza Surveillance in the United States, Illinois has gone from reporting high flu incidence to reporting only localized outbreaks. 


Health Department Recommending Flu Shots for the Unprotected

It's Not Too Late for a Flu Shot!

Most area students are returning to the classroom this week, and the Will County Health Department will be watching. Illinois is one of nearly 40 states currently experiencing widespread influenza activity and the Health Department will be monitoring school attendance to help gauge the severity of the local problem. If current trends continue, the 2012-2013 flu season could be memorable. 

Swine Flu

Swine Flu FAQ's

What is swine flu? Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses. Outbreaks of swine flu happen regularly in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. 

Steps to Preventing Spread of Gastrointestinal Illness in Child Care Centers and Day Care Homes

Guidelines to follow to Prevent Diarrhea caused by E.coli

E. coli O157:H7 infection causes a diarrheal illness that is often bloody.Cases typically experience abdominal cramping but fever is usually absent.  Asymptomatic infections also can occur.  Medical attention should be sought for any child with diarrhea lasting more than 24 hours.
Educating the Public Concerning the Risks Posed by Communicable Disease

Educating the Public Concerning the Risks Posed by Communicable Disease

Public Awareness is the Key to Early Detection and Minimizing the Burden of Communicable Disease

The Epidemiology and Communicable Disease Program of the Will County Health Department works constantly to provide the most current information/prevention and control guidelines to the general public in order to increase awareness of the symptoms and incidence of communicable disease in the county. 

Public outreach is accomplished through speaking engagements and public meetings as well as distributing flyers and brochures. Social media and the new health department website offer additional important ways to get the word out to an increasingly connected public. In carrying out its public outreach program, Epidemiology and Communicable Disease staff are always aware of the need for a seasonal perspective with warnings and alerts about food borne illnesses taking precedence during the summer months and a campaign to urge everyone to take a flu shot occurring during the fall and early winter.

In addition to warning the public about real or potential outbreaks of communicable disease, the program provides written guidance to vulnerable institutions like hospitals, schools businesses and day-care centers about how they can best protect their students, patients and clients from infectious disease. This advice is based on the latest press releases and information from the CDC and the State of Illinois.

Surveillance and Data Collection

Surveillance and Data Collection

Monitoring Disease Reports to Verify Diagnosis and Locate Areas where Outbreaks are Especially Intense

In close collaboration with our community partners (clinics, hospitals, health care providers) and the wider community, the staff of the Epidemiology and Communicable Disease Program works  to perform case investigations and contact tracing on reportable communicable disease cases. Program staff are especially interested in monitoring the frequency and pattern of health events through hospitalizations and deaths that occur as the result of outbreaks of infectious diseases such as West Nile Virus, Influenza or Hepatitis.

The surveillance and data collection function of the program is greatly assisted by the Illinois law that mandates reporting by health care providers, clinics and hospitals of any suspected or confirmed case of some 39 diseases.  The reportable diseases are divided into three categories and providers have between three hours and 7 days to make a report to the health department. 

Communicable Disease Reporting

A communicable disease can be reported in Will County by one of the following ways:

  • Ask for the communicable disease investigator by calling (815) 727-8481.
  • Fax to a confidential fax line at, (815) 727-8833.
  • Mail communicable disease report to the following address:
    Epidemiology and Communicable Disease Program
    501 Ella Ave.
    Joliet, IL 60433
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