First Quarter 2018
The EPI Update is a quarterly e-newsletter provided by the disease containment staff of the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE). This newsletter will arm health care providers and public health professionals with information about infectious disease trends in Johnson County, Kan. and JCDHE's services. If you have a story idea for a future issue, send an email to We encourage you to share this newsletter with your colleagues! 
Early spike in flu cases this season

Influenza got an early start in Johnson County this season and it hasn't shown signs of slowing down. Cases began to spike the last week of December 2017 and continue to rise.

As of Feb. 15, 4,789 cases of flu have been reported to JCDHE. At this same time last year, JCDHE received 1,314 reports of flu. The Johnson County Coroner also noticed a rise in deaths in January due to pneumonia and/or influenza-like illness. No pediatric deaths have been reported in Kansas as of Feb. 15.

Influenza is not a reportable disease in Kansas. Therefore, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment relies on local healthcare providers to provide weekly influenza reports to our disease investigation team. 

Each week, JCDHE's disease investigators compile this information into a weekly influenza surveillance report to track trends in influenza-like illness across Johnson County. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment tracks influenza across the state too. 

Download and complete this  form  each week and fax it to 913-826-1300 to help JCDHE and others in the community get the most accurate picture of influenza activity in Johnson County.
Free HIV educational training for providers

A new online tool from the AIDS Education & Training Center (AETC) National HIV Curriculum (NHC)  offers FREE, online CME/CEU training for physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and pharmacists, and is appropriate for clinicians of all levels, as well as health profession faculty and students. 

The NHC is comprised of six modules, each representing a different core competency identified as essential by HIV care experts, and is designed to inform and update healthcare professionals about national guideline recommendations for quality HIV infection prevention, diagnosis and treatment. 

Visit the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's STI/HIV website to access the curriculum.
Exhibitors, sponsors needed for infectious disease conference

Plans are underway for the 2018 Kansas Infectious Disease Symposium to be held May 10-11 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Kansas City/Olathe Hotel & Conference Center. 

Nearly 300 public health leaders, first responders, law enforcement and health care providers from around the region are expected to attend and learn how infectious diseases are contained and managed in the state of Kansas and the Midwest. P re-conference training on the National Sydromic Surveillance tool will take place on May 9

If you're interested  in exhibiting or being a sponsor at next year's conference, contact  Tiffany Wallin at 913-826-1252 or send an email to

Registration for this event takes place through April 30 on Kansas TRAIN. Seating is limited. Take advantage of the $150 early bird rate available until March 30Continuing education credits are available for purchase for $30. 
When to report school absences due to illness 

T his is the time of year when gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses and respiratory viruses strike many schools causing large numbers of students to be absent from school. 

Contact disease investigators at 913-826-1303 if your school has:
  • 10 percent of students absent due to illness; or a
  • 5 percent increase in absences from one day to the next; or
  • an unusual incident
Our staff will provide information on facility cleaning, specimen collection and start a disease investigation. A minimum of three specimens from different individuals are needed for testing and identifying the cause of a GI illness. JCDHE will provide specimen containers.  
People infected with GI illnesses are contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill to at least 3 days after recovery. Those with a respiratory virus may be able to infect other people beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the respiratory virus for longer than 7 days. Refrain from going to work or school until symptom-free for 24 hours without the use of medication.

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment has a GI illness fact sheet that you can post on your website or give to students and parents. Call 913-826-1303 if you would like a copy of this fact sheet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website is an excellent resource for disease fact sheets. 
Epidemiologists play important role in emergency planning 

Thirteen jurisdictions in the Kansas City metro area will participate in a regional full-scale medical countermeasures exercise in March. The exercise will focus on mass dispensing operations following an Anthrax attack, and while this is not a new scenario, it will be the first time testing the administration of both pills and vaccine. It will also test the full integration of epidemiology into a public health response.
The public health response to an Anthrax attack occurs in two phases. The first phase requires local health departments to work with community partners and governmental agencies to dispense medication to the entire population within 48 hours of exposure. 

The second phase relies on the subject matter expertise of epidemiologists to identify who is truly at risk of exposure and needs the full course of antibiotics and vaccines and who is not. This identification process is crucial as it  spares those who do not need further treatment from the adverse effects associated with long term antibiotic use, and saves supplies and medication that may be limited during a public health emergency.
This exercise will highlight areas of strength, as well as opportunities for improvement related to mass dispensing operations. It is also serves as a reminder that public health preparedness spans many disciplines within public health, and that a truly effective response relies on the knowledge and expertise of many.
LECTURE: Got Bit? Rabies Testing & Animal Bite Procedures
Dr. Ingrid Garrison, public health veterinarian at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Dr. Susan Moore, rabies laboratory director at the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, are partnering with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment to provide a FREE lecture to Kansas health care providers, veterinarians and animal control officers about animal bite exposures and rabies testing procedures. 

The lecture takes place Feb. 21 from 5-7 p.m. at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, 8788 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, KS 66212. Please RSVP your attendance to Tiffany Wallin at or 913-826-1252.

More information about rabies and animal bite procedures can be found here
Johnson County Disease and Surveillance Reports
The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment produces a monthly disease report listing cases (confirmed, suspect, probable and not a case) that are investigated by our staff. Starting in the fall through late spring, we post weekly influenza surveillance reports. We also compile end of the year reports about diseases and influenza on this page

Information and reports about the mosquito surveillance conducted by Johnson County in 2017 and 2016 are also posted on our website. 
National Public Health Week is April 2-8
Join us in celebrating National Public Health Week and become part of a growing movement to create the healthiest nation in one generation. We're celebrating the power of prevention, advocating for healthy and fair policies, sharing strategies for successful partnerships and championing the role of a strong public health system.

This short video explains what Generation Public Health represents and how you can be a part of it. Take the pledge to help create a healthier America!
News from the CDC

Seasonal Influenza A (H3N2) Activity and Antiviral Treatment of Patients with Influenza

National Infant Immunization Week observed April 21-28, 2018
Johnson County Department of Health and Environment |
REPORT A DISEASE:  (913) 826-1303; Fax: (913) 826-1300
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