Communicable Disease Prevention and Control
Communicable diseases, sometimes called infectious diseases, are illnesses caused by organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Sometimes the illness is not due to the organism itself, but rather a toxin that the organism produces after it has been introduced into a human host.
Communicable diseases may be transmitted (spread) either by:
- one infected person to another,
- from an animal to a human, or
- from some inanimate object (doorknobs, table tops, etc.) to an individual.
It is important to note that some communicable diseases can be spread in more than one way...
Hospitals/clinics are required by law to report certain communicable disease to the local health department and it is the local health department’s responsibility to follow up on these diseases/illnesses as they are considered to have great public health impact. To see a list of reportable diseases click on the link below:
To learn more about communicable diseases call Forest County Health Department at 715-478-3371 or click on the link below to search for communicable disease fact sheets.
Human Health Hazard Prevention and Control
The Forest County Health Department provides investigation and follow-up for conditions that may present a hazard to human health. Complaints may be filed with the health department at 715-478-3371.
Influenza is a contagious disease that may be prevented by immunization. It is caused by a virus that affects the respiratory tract (nose, throat, and lungs). Influenza symptoms come quickly in the form of fever, headache, tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches. Seasonal influenza is typically seen during the winter months in Wisconsin and is not the same as pandemic influenza or avian influenza (bird flu). H1N1 flu (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs.
Each year the seasonal influenza vaccine changes based on surveillance and estimates of which type and strain will circulate. It takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop and protect your body against the flu. Anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting flu should be vaccinated.
It is recommended that all people 6 months and older get a flu shot. Certain people are at higher risk of complications from the flu. Those people include Children age 6 months to 18 years, pregnant women, people 50 years and older, anyone with chronic medical conditions, and people who live in nursing homes.
The best way to protect yourself from getting the flu is to practice good hygiene, get your flu shot each year, stay home when you are sick, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. You do not need an appointment for a flu shots at the Forest County Health Department. Community wide flu clinics will be held in October.
The cost of the flu shot is $25 and the Health Department bills Medicare, Medicaid, and some Medicare Replacements (Card must be presented at time of service). Cash and check are also accepted. For more information contact the Health Department at 715-478-3371.
Get more information on influenza at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/
Rabies Prevention and Control
The Rabies Prevention Program provides surveillance of rabies, education about rabies prevention, follow-up on reported animal bites and referral for treatment.
If you have been bitten by an animal, seek medical attention or first aid immediately. To report a domestic animal bite contact the Sheriff’s Department at 715-478-3331. To report a wild animal or stray animal bite or have any other questions regarding rabies, contact the Health Department at 715-478-3371.
Radon is a radioactive gas released from the normal decay of uranium in rocks and soil. It is invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that seeps up through the ground and diffuses into the air. Radon is present in nearly all air. Everyone breathes radon every day, usually at very low levels. However, people who inhale high levels of radon over a long period of time, are at increased risk for developing lung cancer.
Radon enters homes through cracks in floors, walls, or foundations, collects inside, and levels can become concentrated. It is recommended all home owners test their homes for radon. If radon levels are are high, actions can be taken to decrease the level and reduce the health risk.
Radon kits are for sale through the Forest County Health Department in cooperation with the NorthCentral Wisconsin Radon Information Center at Marathon County Health Department. Test results are mailed directly to participants. Referrals are made to the NorthCentral Radon Information Center when radon remediation assistance is needed. For more information about radon please visit http://www.lowradon.org/
Tobacco Prevention and Control
WISCONSIN SMOKE FREE (JULY 2010)
In working for a Healthier Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Smoke Free Air Law, was passed and then enacted on July 5th, 2010. The law protects all workers and patrons from the dangers of second hand smoke in work places. According to the law, all businesses including restaurants and bars are required to be smoke free. Concerned individuals can report noncompliant businesses by calling 1-800-NO-SMOKE or visit www.WiBetterSmokeFree.com
TOBACCO CESSATION PROGRAMS
Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line
Call the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line. You will talk with someone who knows all about quitting and can help you through it. The Quit Line coach will help you learn what you can do to quit successfully. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for TTY 1-877-777-6534 Quit Line hours: 7 am to 11 pm daily. If you call at other times, just leave a message and you'll be called back within two business days. For more information contact UW Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention by visiting www.ctri.wisc.edu/quitline
Fax to Quit
If you're thinking about quitting tobacco but having difficulty getting started, call the Health Department at 715-478-3371. You can either speak to or make an appointment to meet with one of our nurses. The nurse will help you assess your readiness to quit, assist you with a plan and arrange follow-up (which may include referral to the Wisconsin Fax to Quit program). After you meet with the nurse, you may decide to take advantage of the Quit Line counseling. The nurse will have you complete a brief smoking history and contact information form. The form will be faxed to the Quit Line, and a Quit Line coach will call you on the day, time and phone number you request.
The First Breath program is designed specify to help pregnant women quit smoking. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Women's Health Foundation, (a non-profit organization) to help pregnant women in Wisconsin quit smoking and reduce the risk of serious health problems to both mother and child. The program provides 1:1 support during and after pregnancy, and resources available through the Quit Line. Call the Health Department at 715-478-3371 to speak to or make an appointment to meet with our First Breath nurse.
WISCONSIN WINS PROGRAM
The WI WINS program is a state and local partnership dedicated to protect children from the health hazards of tobacco, and decrease youth access to tobacco products. In Wisconsin, the 2001 the illegal sale rate of tobacco products to minors was over 33%. By 2009, the average non-compliance rate for the state of Wisconsin was only 7%!
The CDC estimates that every day in the United States 3,600 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 years initiate cigarette smoking. Statistics show smokers and smokeless tobacco users who began using in their youth, have more difficulty quitting later in life than those who began as adults. People who start tobacco use before the age of 18, are also less successful at quitting later in life, despite more quit attempts.
WI WINS activities include retailer education and training, media outreach, community education, and investigations to establish retailer compliance with the law. By decreasing youth access to tobacco, youth tobacco use decreases, lifetime health effects lessen and WIS WINS.
For more information on the Wisconsin Wins program, visit http://www.wiwins.org/.
For free tobacco retailer training, visit http://www.smokecheck.org/.
NORTHWOOD'S TOBACCO-FREE COALTION
Forest, Florence, Oneida, Lincoln, Price, and Vilas County combined as one multi-jurisdictional coalition (MJC) called the Northwood’s Tobacco-Free Coalition. For more information about the coalition, please visit. www.nwtfc.org.
The mission of the Northwoods Tobacco-Free Coalition (NWTFC) is to improve the health of the residents of Florence, Forest, Lincoln, Oneida, Price, and Vilas counties by encouraging reduction in the use of tobacco through public information and community involvement.
To achieve the above, the Coalition will:
- Stimulate communication and collaboration among agencies, groups, and individuals interested in control of tobacco use and the promotion of smoke-free workplace policies in the NWTFC region.
- Develop a network of organizations to implement and coordinate ongoing tobacco reduction initiatives.
- Develop a strategic tobacco reduction plan for Florence, Forest, Lincoln, Oneida, Price, and Vilas counties.
- Lyme Disease
- West Nile Virus The Health Department is assisting the state with dead bird collection, call the hotline at 800-433-1610.
May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month; State Officials Urge Precautions
MADISON—Wisconsin’s warm spring weather will mean more blacklegged tick activity, which could start earlier due to a milder winter. State officials are urging people to take precautions now against tick bites when spending time outdoors.
In Wisconsin, infected blacklegged ticks (also known as deer ticks) can carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease and other tickborne diseases, and these diseases are increasing, according to Dr. Henry Anderson, State Health Officer. In 2011, there was a preliminary report of 4,123 confirmed and probable cases of tickborne diseases compared with 4,073 cases in 2010.
Recognizing and treating tickborne diseases early is important, Anderson noted. Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, the state’s most frequently reported tickborne illness, may occur 3 days to 30 days after the bite of an infected tick and can include a characteristic rash called an erythema migrans (EM) rash, fever and chills, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes. The rash is circular and red initially and expands over several days, though it may not occur in all cases. The disease is easily treated with antibiotics when detected early. If left untreated, Lyme disease can result in debilitating arthritis, and serious heart and nervous system complications.
Other tickborne illnesses range from mild to severe and include anaplasmosis, the state’s second highest reported tickborne illness, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and Powassan virus disease. Signs and symptoms of these illnesses can include fever, chills, sweats, muscle aches, joint pain, headache, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and loss of appetite. Severe cases can include a change in mental status, paralysis and coma, and can be fatal. Unlike anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis and babesiosis, Powassan virus infections are not treatable with antibiotics.
These steps can help prevent tick bites and reduce the chance of getting tickborne diseases:
- Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter since ticks prefer these areas. Stay to the center of a trail to avoid contact with grass and brush.
- Use effective tick repellents and apply according to the label instructions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using repellents with 20% DEET on exposed skin and clothing to prevent tick bites. Adults should apply repellents to children, taking special care to avoid spraying in the hands, eyes, and mouth. Repellents that contain permethrin can also be applied to clothing.
- Wear clothes that will help shield you from ticks. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants are best. Tuck your pants into the top of your socks or boots, to create a “tick barrier.” Light-colored clothing makes ticks easier to spot.
- Landscape homes and recreational areas to reduce the number of ticks and create tick-safe zones by using woodchips or gravel along the border between lawn and wooded areas. Continue to remove leaf litter and clear tall grass and brush around houses throughout the summer.
- Check your body frequently for ticks, and remove them promptly. Blacklegged ticks are small and may be difficult to find so careful and thorough tick checks must be done on all parts of the body. It is important to pay special attention to areas where ticks tend to hide such as the head, scalp, and body folds (armpit, behind the knee, groin).
- Remove attached ticks slowly and gently, using a pair of thin-bladed tweezers applied as close to the skin as possible. Folk remedies like petroleum jelly, nail polish remover, or burning matches are not safe or effective ways to remove ticks.
- Protect your pets from tick bites by checking your dog or cat for ticks before allowing them inside. While a vaccine can prevent Lyme disease in pets, it will not stop the animal from carrying infected ticks into the home. Speak to your veterinarian about topical tick repellant available for pets.
For more information: http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/communicable/TickBorne/index.htm.
For information on insect repellents: http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 03 July 2012)