Communicable diseases are those passed from person to person by an infectious agent, such as bacteria or viruses. These diseases are often referred to as “contagious” or “infectious” conditions.
The Health Department is required by state law to collect and investigate reports of communicable diseases (CDs) by physicians, hospitals, laboratories, and other healthcare providers in Wells County.
Certain conditions are reportable to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), while others should be reported to the local health department (WCHD). The proper entity to contact is identified in the “List of Reportable Diseases and Reporting Timelines” document below.
To report an incident of communicable disease to ISDH, contact:
317-233-7426 for HIV/STD
317-233-7125 for all other CDs
To report an incident of communicable disease to WCHD, contact:
More Information on Disease Reporting
Indiana Communicable Disease Rule
Communicable Disease Reporting In Indiana
List of Reportable Diseases and Reporting Timelines
Confidential Report of Communicable Disease form
The Wells County Health Department utilizes the “List of Reportable Diseases and Reporting Timelines”, provided by the Indiana State Department of Health, regarding communicable diseases and conditions that require an investigation by the local health department once reported.
“Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus” is a bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics. MRSA is not a new bacteria and is not uncommon. Studies show that one in three people have Staph in their nose and are not ill. MRSA is transmitted by direct contact with infected wounds or by sharing personal items such as towels or razors that have come in contact with infected skin. There are steps a person can take to reduce the risk of MRSA infection. These include, washing hands and body regularly, keeping cuts and wounds clean and covered until healed and not sharing personal items. If by chance a person becomes infected, MRSA is treatable with antibiotics. Persons interested in being tested for MRSA should contact their primary physician.
HIV/AIDS is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. The virus is only transmitted through certain body fluids such as blood, semen, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids and breast milk. The fluids from an infected individual must come in direct contact with the mucous membrane or injured tissue or be injected into the bloodstream of another individual to be transmitted. HIV lives for a very short time outside of the body. The virus CANNOT be spread by insect bites, saliva, tears, sweat, sharing toilets or dishes, by closed mouth kissing, or touching that does not involve exchanging body fluids. A person can reduce their risk of getting HIV by limiting the number of sexual partners, never sharing needles, and using condoms correctly every time they have sex. There is currently no cure for HIV but with proper care it can be controlled. The Positive Resource Center is offering free HIV testing on multiple Tuesdays through this year at the Wells County Health Department. The next date for the HIV testing is September 13, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.
For more information and any additional questions, please contact either of the following agencies:
Wells County Health Department
Indiana State Department of Health
Health and Human Services Division
What is the flu?
Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year. Every year in the United States, an average of 5%-20% of the population gets the flu; more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and about 36,000 people die from it. Some people, such as the elderly, young children, and people with certain health conditions are at high risk for serious flu complications.
Complications of flu
Complications resulting from the flu may include pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.
How flu spreads
Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing on people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop, and up to 5 days after becoming sick. That means you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
Preventing Seasonal Flu
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. There are two types of vaccines:
1. The “flu shot” – an inactivated vaccine (containing killed viruses) that is given with a needle. The flu shot is approved for use in people 6 months of age and older, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
2. The nasal-spray – a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses (sometimes called LAIV for “live attenuated influenza vaccine) that do not cause the flu. LAIV is approved for use in health people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant.
About two weeks after vaccination, antibodies develop that protect against influenza virus infection. Flu vaccines will not protect against flu-like illnesses caused by non-influenza viruses. You cannot get the flu from the vaccine. However, flu vaccine will not protect you from other lung infections, such as colds and bronchitis.