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Public health is one of the most important services we provide the residents of Johnson County Government. Every day, in many ways, we strive to prevent disease and promote wellness. Our Olathe and Mission walk-in clinics offer services including immunizations, pregnancy testing and family planning, and Tuberculosis testing. The Johnson County Mental Health Center provides a wide range of mental health and substance abuse services to residents. We serve clients of the Kansas WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program, teach classes for child care providers, manage disease investigation and reporting, and so much more.

Health News

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

Another heat advisory today

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for today from 1 - 7 p.m. Dangerous heat is expected across the Kansas City area with peak afternoon heat indices from 100 to 105 degrees. Some important tips to keep in mind.

  • Do not use a fan as your primary source of cooling. If no AC, visit a public building like a community center,.
  • Check on your neighbors, friends and relatives at least twice a day (morning and night).
  • Never leave children or pets in closed vehicles: In minutes, temps inside a car can reach over 140 degrees and can kill
  •  If you have to work outside or in a no AC workplace, take frequent breaks, rest in the shade and drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid too much sunshine, and postpone outdoor activities and games.

If you need a place to cool off today, feel free to visit one of our Johnson County Library branches. Here is a link to the locations. Remember that the Central Resource Library (9875 W. 87th Street in Overland Park) is undergoing renovations to that branch has limited services.


National Fresh Veggies Day at the WIC Garden

Did you know that today is Fresh Veggies Day? Some volunteers got an early start to the celebration at the Department of Health and Environment's WIC (Women, Infant and Children) community garden. Volunteers harvested broccoli, cabbage, onions, basil, potatoes, carrots and green beans. All of the produce harvested in the garden goes to Johnson County WIC clients. We invite you to learn more about the WIC program or view photos of today's harvest. If you'd like to register to volunteer in the WIC garden, click here for more information.

We were happy to have some local TV stations at the garden this morning reporting live and explaning more about the WIC program.  Click on a link below to view a TV report.


Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

While it’s important to protect senior citizens every day of the year, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15) provides an opportunity for communities to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.

Several Johnson County departments, agencies and offices work hard to help make life safe, comfortable and invigorating for our area seniors. Below is a sampling with links to more information.

  • The Johnson County District Attorney’s office White Collar Crime Unit specializes in protecting senior citizens from internet fraud, exploitation, identity theft and similar crimes.
  • The Johnson County Area on Aging advocates for an assists older adults in maintaining their independence and dignity through community-based services.
  • As part of Johnson County Mental Health, Aging Services provide individual and group counseling to those 60 and older. Outreach mental health services are available to the frail elderly residing in a long term care setting and to homebound seniors.
  • The Senior Services offered through our Department of Health and Environment include home visits by registered nurses, blood pressure checks, senior wellness classes and more.
  • Johnson County Park & Recreation District’s 50 Plus program is the area’s leading provider of recreation and leisure activities for older adults.
  • Our free publication The Best Times is the best way to keep updated on news, services and programs for Johnson County senior citizens.
Johnson County Catch-a-Ride Needs Your Help!

Are you interested in driving county residents to critical appointments?  We hope so, because Catch-a-Ride needs you! And Catch-a-Ride has a special need for drivers in rural areas such as Gardner, Spring Hill, and De Soto.

Catch-a-Ride is a completely volunteer-based program in which elders, people with a disability, and people in a major life transition are given rides to medical appointments, grocery stores/food pantries, and social service agencies. Clients are people who cannot drive themselves and do not have a network of people who can drive for them.

Volunteers can drive “anytime, anywhere” or only at certain intervals or in certain areas of the county. We are very respectful of driver needs and schedules.

If you are interested or want additional information, please call Brandy 913-715-8859, e-mail Brandy.Hodge@jocogov.org.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Today the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) proclaimed May as Mental Health Awareness Month and May 11 - 17 as Mental Health Awareness Week. The Johnson County Mental Health Center offers a wide range of mental health and substance abuse services to residents.

Johnson County is one of 19 local agencies that belong to the Greater Kansas City Mental Health Coalition. Today the BOCC viewed a powerful new PSA entitled "Where Can You Find Hope" featuring former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Anthony Davis. Click here to view the PSA.

Johnson County one of four national launch sites for Stepping Up initiative

This week the Stepping Up Initiative, an effort aimed at reducing the number of people with mental illness in jails, launched in Johnson County, Washington D.C., Miami-Dade County Florida and Sacremento, CA. A packed room of local and national dignitaries attended the launch at the Johnson County Crisis Recovery Center in Shawnee. There are many ways for you to learn more about this initiative.

Read our news release

View the news conference

Read/view some of the local media coverage:
Kansas City Star
NBC 41

Food trucks will raise money for Johnson County Meals on Wheels

Food Truck Mafia of Kansas City will host a Food Truck Rally today benefiting Johnson County Meals on Wheels today. Bochi Truck, KC BBQ Truck, Beauty of the Bistro, Savanna Sweets, The Crave and Monk’s Roast Beef food trucks will each have a donation jar available with all proceeds collected today going to Johnson County Meals on Wheels.

The rally takes place today, May 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m in the Kansas City West Bottoms at the corner of Hickory Street and 12th Street

Learn more at:

Food Truck Mafia of Kansas City
Johnson County Meals on Wheels

Johnson County receives $160,000 grant for Ebola preparedness

Today the Board of County Commissions voted to accept federal funding to support our Department of Health & Environment’s preparedness planning and readiness for responding to Ebola. The $160,153 grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services will come to Johnson County through the Kansas Department of Health & Environment, and is targeted for public health capabilities at the local level including community preparedness efforts, responder health and safety and public information and warnings.

Last year, Ebola virus disease outbreaks occurred in West Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. On Sept. 30, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first imported case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. in Dallas, Texas. At that time our Department of Health & Environment collaborated with jurisdictions on both sides of the state line to ensure preparedness. As of today, Johnson County’s Department of Health & Environment has conducted Ebola monitoring on 11 post-travel individuals.

“Any type of preparedness, disease investigation and response work helps Johnson County prepare for managing many different kinds of communicable disease outbreaks,” says Lougene Marsh, director of the Johnson County Department of Health & Environment. “Operational readiness for one outbreak provides benefits to all of us for future incidents.”

Reviewing incidents once they are complete and sharing that information with other jurisdictions is another way to stay prepared. Tomorrow, public health risk communicators from the region (including Johnson County representatives) will present on their collaborative efforts during last year’s Ebola response to the Regional Association of Public Information Officers. Johnson County Government will live tweet from this event, so be sure you are following @jocogov on Twitter to get the latest information.

Johnson County is one of the healthiest counties in Kansas

A new national study ranks Johnson County at #2 out of the 105 counties in Kansas for our factors that lead to a healthy lifestyle. Read the full news release here.

Community & Social Services

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Upcoming Events

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July 17, 2015 | 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Mental Health First Aid - Adult Version

August 20, 2015 | 9:00 am

Sensory Time at the Johnson County Museum

September 3, 2015 | 9:00 am

Sensory Time at the Johnson County Museum