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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

2015 Feed the Need results

Johnson County Government's 2015 Feed the Need campaign raised more than 314,000 pounds of food plus an additional nearly $77,000. This efforts supports 10 Johnson County food pantries. Please read more in our news release. We photos from today's check presentations available on our Facebook page.

We also invite you to view this video of today's event where employee Larry Sallaz spoke about his former colleague, Rick Beckwith, who was a champion for this cause and passed away in 2004.

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

Time to start thinking about back-to-school immunizations

If you're trying to get your children ready to go back to school, doctors visits and immunizations might be on your list. Here's some information on immunizations offered by the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment:


Here's 2015-16 school and child care immunization information from teh Kansas Department of Health and Environment:



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

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.

Community & Social Services

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Upcoming Events

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September 3, 2015 | 9:00 am

Sensory Time at the Johnson County Museum

September 17, 2015 | 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

ASIST Training

September 17, 2015 | 9:00 am

Sensory Time at the Johnson County Museum

October 1, 2015 | 9:00 am

Sensory Time at the Johnson County Museum

October 15, 2015 | 9:00 am

Sensory Time at the Johnson County Museum