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Department News

Cryptosporidiosis reported in Johnson County

Three cases of Cryptosporidiosis (Crypto), a disease caused by the protozoan Cryptosporidium parvum, were reported to the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) this week. The department is working closely with pool operators in Overland Park and Shawnee for cautionary measures to close and/or treat those known swimming pools with which infected individuals had contact.

The Overland Park affected swimming pool is privately owned and managed by a homes’ association. The City of Overland Park has posted notice that the pool is closed.

The City of Shawnee has taken proactive steps in order to protect swimmers at pools that are owned and operated by the City. This includes performing a shock treatment to the pool which completely clears any potential danger from the water. JCDHE is working with the pool operator on the treatment of the affected privately owned homes’ association pool.

JCDHE has determined that there is no public health risk at Shawnee's city pools and that they are safe for the public to continue to visit and swim in.

“At this time, we have three confirmed cases and are tracking a few more possible cases in the community,” said Lougene Marsh, JCDHE director. “We encourage everyone to wash their hands frequently and ensure their children take frequent breaks from the pool to prevent accidents.” 

Symptoms of Crypto include:

  •  Severe, watery diarrhea
  •  Abdominal cramps
  •  Fever
  •  Nausea and vomiting  

Crypto is spread by contact with the stool of infected persons or animals, consumption of contaminated food or water, and by person-to-person or animal-to-animal contact.

  • Symptoms usually develop 2 to 10 days after exposure and may last from 1 to 2 weeks. 
  • Cryptosporidium can still be spread for two weeks after symptoms have subsided.
  • Persons with diarrhea should not swim for 2 weeks after symptoms stop. Crypto is chlorine-resistant and can live for days in chlorine treated water. 

The most important prevention measure is careful hand washing with soap and warm running water. Alcohol-based hand gels and sanitizers do not kill Cryptosporidium (or “Crypto”) so they do not help stop the spread of Crypto. Avoid swallowing pool water, change diapers often and in a restroom and make time for frequent restroom breaks for children to prevent the spread of illness.

If a member of your household develops any of these symptoms or you have questions, contact your healthcare provider or visit http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/rwi/illnesses/cryptosporidium.html

Cooling Center Locations in Johnson County

Government offices and local businesses in Johnson County, Kansas will serve as cooling centers when extremely high temperatures and humidity affect the metro area or when the National Weather Service issues a Heat Advisory or Warning that includes Johnson County. Cooling centers may also be open when ordered by local fire officials. Citizens who need a place to rest and restore on hot days may visit these locations. Hours of operation vary.

Pet owners urged to vaccinate pets for rabies

Bats are frequent guests this time of year in Johnson County homes and backyards as young bats born in the spring leave their nests and seek shelter in trees and houses. When this happens, bat bites increase, especially in the pet population. The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) urges residents to vaccinate their pets for rabies and not to touch bats – living or dead -- with bare hands.

“Vaccination is the best way to protect your pets from rabies. Unvaccinated animals exposed to rabies are at risk for a deadly infection and may have to spend months in quarantine,” says Lougene Marsh, director of the department.

Bats play an important role in helping to keep the mosquito population under control, but can be tempting to pets that find a young, injured or dead bat outdoors or in a home. If your pet comes into contact with a bat (living or dead), call a pest company or your local animal control office (if your city offers bat removal service) to have the bat removed and tested for rabies. Then call a veterinarian to find out if your pet needs post-exposure treatment.

If a bat (living or dead) is found inside your home, and contact with it is unknown, it is still necessary to call a pest company or animal control to have it removed and tested. Bat bites can be difficult to detect on humans and pets. Call your healthcare provider or JCDHE and your veterinarian to discuss the need for rabies post-exposure prophylaxis, even if the bat is not suitable for testing.

If you find a dead bat outside, and no people or pets have come into contact with it, wear gloves and dispose of it in a plastic bag in the trash.

More information about rabies exposure and animal bites can be found here or call JCDHE at 913-826-1303. Click here for a list of Animal Control Offices in Johnson County.

Common bats found in Kansas: http://www.wildlife.k-state.edu/species/bats/index.html

Questions and Answers - TB Infection Cases at Olathe NW High School

Click here for answers to some common questions being asked.

Additional TB infection cases identified at Olathe Northwest High School

Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) report that out of the more than 300 students and staff tested for tuberculosis (TB) at Olathe Northwest High School, only 8 percent (27 people) have tested positive. Health officials began calling those with TB positive test results on Monday and letters were mailed to the homes of those with negative test results (no infection).

“The number of individuals with TB infection does not exceed what we would anticipate in this setting,” said Lougene Marsh, director of the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment. “Of course, we had hoped we wouldn’t find any additional TB cases, but we knew this was a possibility. That’s why we took such thorough steps to test everyone who might have been in close contact with the first confirmed case of TB disease.”

People with TB infection are not contagious, do not feel sick, and do not have TB symptoms. People with TB disease can spread the bacteria to others, feel sick and can have symptoms including fever, night sweats, cough and weight loss.

Individuals with positive test results will take a chest x-ray and begin treatment with antibiotics to kill the TB bacteria to prevent the development of TB disease. Chest x-rays and medication will be provided free of charge by KDHE and JCDHE.

“Early identification and treatment of TB infection is the key to preventing progression to TB disease,” said Marsh. “That’s why we are working so closely with the school and KDHE to investigate this case and assure that all precautions are being taken for the safety of everyone in the school and the community.”

Blood tests will be repeated on May 5 for those contacts who were identified as exposed to TB disease during the spring semester of the school year. This second test is necessary as it can take up to eight weeks for TB bacteria to show up positive in a TB test.

For more information about TB, visit www.cdc.gov/tb or JCDHE’s website, www.jocogov.org/jcdhe.

Case of Active Tuberculosis Identified at Olathe School

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) has identified a single case of active tuberculosis (TB) in a student who attends Olathe Northwest High School. The individual identified is complying with isolation precautions and is receiving medication to treat the illness. JCDHE has begun identifying contacts of the student with active TB and is working to ensure that any additional contacts in the school or community are identified and treated.

A forum will be held for students and parents of Olathe Northwest on March 10 at 5:30 p.m. in the Olathe Northwest High School commons (21300 College Blvd.). TB experts from JCDHE and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment will be on hand to present facts about TB and answer questions.

TB is spread through the air by coughing, laughing, singing and sneezing. The only way to contract the disease is by close contact (several hours a day) with someone who has the disease. It cannot be spread by contact with someone's clothing, drinking glass, eating utensils, handshake, toilet or other surfaces. Symptoms of TB can include a cough of longer than three weeks, unexplained weight loss, night sweats, chills, fever and coughing up blood.

TB is preventable and curable. TB disease is typically treated for six to nine months with antibiotics. A person with TB will become non-contagious within a few days to weeks of effective treatment and will be able to return to normal activities without risk to others while completing treatment.

For more information about TB, visit www.cdc.gov/tb. Click here to read March 4 press release about this case. 


Upcoming Events

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December 7, 2016 | 10:00 am to 6:30 pm

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December 14, 2016 | 10:00 am to 6:30 pm

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December 21, 2016 | 10:00 am to 6:30 pm

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December 26, 2016 | 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

JCDHE Closed for Christmas (Dec. 26, 2016)

December 28, 2016 | 10:00 am to 6:30 pm

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