On any given day, the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department may be working to contain an infectious disease. Health Department staff often learn of such diseases from doctors’ offices, child care facilities, school nurses, hospitals and sometimes, the clients themselves. Once these “disease detectives” receive information about a possible or confirmed case, an investigation begins.
Health Department staff and nurses try to answer the question: What is causing people to get sick?
Once they find the cause, they keep looking to answer the key question: How can it be prevented from happening to other people?
The client may be asked to stay home from work or school for a period of time, take medication and/or identify close contacts. The nurse may call the susceptible contacts to gather more information, answer any questions and provide recommendations on what to do next - if necessary. This process helps contain an outbreak and protect the public’s health.