Communicable and Infectious Disease
Rabies is most often transmitted through animal bites. Most cases occur in wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, coyotes, foxes and skunks. It is preventable through pre- and post-exposure vaccines.
The first symptoms are similar to those of the flu. Symptoms progress to cerebral dysfunction, anxiety, confusion, and agitation. Next, delirium, hallucinations, and insomnia may be experienced. Once signs of the disease appear, survival is extremely rare.
In the United States, rabies causes one or two human fatalities per year. Fatalities happen when people do not seek medical attention, usually because they were unaware of their exposure.
The most common source of human rabies is bats. Sometimes, people have known encounters with bats. Other times, they are exposed while they sleep. While you cannot tell if a bat has rabies by looking at it, it is very likely that a bat is sick – possibly with rabies – if it is active in the light of day or unable to fly or escape your approach.
Take these steps to prevent rabies exposure:
- Maintain your pets’ rabies vaccinations.
- Spay and neuter your pets to decrease the number of stray, unvaccinated animals.
- Call animal control to remove stray animals.
- Take steps to keep wild animals out of your home.
- If you are bitten, wash the bite area and get medical attention immediately.
- By law, all bites are to be reported to your local health department for investigation.
If you are bitten by a pet, it is very important that the animal be quarantined to determine if the animal has rabies and if you are at risk. If the animal appears healthy after a 10-day quarantine, the pet will be released.
Contact your local health center to report an animal bite.
Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria that typically attack the lungs but can target the kidney, spine, brain or other parts of the body. If not treated properly, TB can be fatal.
A person with TB can spread the bacteria through the air when coughing, sneezing or speaking.
Not everyone infected will develop the disease. In what is called a latent TB infection, the bacteria can live in your body without making you sick. TB develops if your body cannot stop the bacteria from activating and growing.
- A bad cough that lasts at least three weeks
- Pain in the chest
- Coughing up blood or sputum
- Weakness or fatigue
- Weight loss
- No appetite
- Sweating at night
- TB test will determine if you have a latent TB infection or TB disease and treatment can be determined accordingly.
The Lincoln Trail District Health Department provides TB education, TB screenings, holds TB clinics where people with TB infection can get chest X-rays and see a physician about treatment. We provide medication to treat TB infection and TB disease and work with TB disease patients to identify close contacts and provide those individuals with preventative therapy.
If you need TB evaluation or treatment or suspect TB infection, contact your healthcare provider or your county health center.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). The human body cannot rid itself of HIV, meaning once you have it, you have it for life.
About 1.1 million people in the United States were living with HIV infection at the end of 2010. One of every six of those do not know they are infected. There are about 50,000 new infections each year.
Testing is critical to decreasing the spread of HIV.
- Everyone age 13 to 64 should be tested for HIV at least once.
- Women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should be tested.
- Anyone who has been sexually assaulted should be tested.
- You need to be tested if any of the following apply to you or anyone you have had sex with:
- Had sex with someone who is HIV-positive or whose status you don’t know since your last HIV test.
- Have injected drugs including steroids, hormones or silicone and shared equipment such as needles or syringes with others should be tested.
- Have exchanged sex for drugs or money.
- Have been diagnosed or sought treatment for hepatitis, tuberculosis or a sexually transmitted disease such as syphilis.
- If you continue to have unsafe sex or share injection drug equipment, you should be tested at least once each year.
- Sexually active gay or bisexual men may benefit from testing every three to six months.
Testing is available at county health centers. All STD testing is confidential. In addition, HIV testing may be anonymous, meaning test results are tracked by unrecorded test numbers only.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: HIV
Professional, Comprehensive, Confidential, Affordable
The Health Department provides testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections at our local county health centers. Call the health center that is convenient for you for more information. All services are confidential. Same-day appointments may be available.
Testing is available for common sexually transmitted infections, including:
- Hepatitis C
What to expect at the appointment:
- A nurse will take your medical history to determine your risk of infection.
- Depending on your results, treatment may be needed. This can often be provided at the health center.
- If necessary, health center staff can help you notify your partners.
*No one is turned away for inability to pay.*
For more information on common STDs, please visit the CDC website.
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