Health Department

Communicable Disease

On this page:

Disease and safety fact sheets:

Anthrax Heat Safety Rabies
Bacterial Meningitus Hepatitis A Reptiles and Salmonella
Campylobacter Hepatitis A and Food Handlers Rotavirus
Chickenpox Hepatitis B Scabies
Chlamydia Influenza Shigellosis
Cryptosporidiosis Measles Strep Throat (Scarlet Fever)
Ebola MRSA Syphilis
Gonorrhea Mumps Viral Meningitis
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease Pertussis  West Nile Virus
Head Lice Pink Eye  

Reportable Diseases

  • If you are a medical professional and you need to report an animal bite or a case of a reportable illness, please use our confidential, secured fax line (816-325-7098) or call 816-325-7204 during normal business hours. Please remember, this is for medical professionals only.
  • If you are a medical professional who needs to report a public health emergency, contact the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services 24/7 hotline at 1-800-392-0272. Remember, this is for medical professionals only. If you have a personal medical emergency, call 911.

    For communicable disease information, please see the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Communicable Disease Manual.

E. Coli

e.coli infectionEscherichia coli O157:H7 is a leading cause of foodborne illness. Based on a 1999 estimate, 73,000 cases of infection and 61 deaths occur in the United States each year.

Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection often causes severe bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Sometimes the infection causes non-bloody diarrhea or no symptoms. Usually little or no fever is present, and the illness resolves in five to ten days. In some persons, particularly children under 5 years of age and the elderly , the infection can also cause a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), in which the red blood cells are destroyed and the kidneys fail.

People can become infected with E.coli O157:H7 in a variety of ways. Though most illness has been associated with eating undercooked, contaminated ground beef, people have also become ill from eating contaminated bean sprouts or fresh leafy vegetables such as lettuce and spinach. Person-to-person contact in families and childcare centers is also a known mode of transmission. In addition, infection can occur after drinking raw milk and after swimming in or drinking sewage-contaminated water.

Consumers can prevent E. coli O157:H7 infection by thoroughly cooking ground beef, avoiding unpasteurized milk, and by washing hands carefully before preparing or eating food. Fruits and vegetables should be washed well, but washing may not remove all contamination. Public service announcements on television, radio, or in the newspapers will advise you which foods to avoid in the event of an outbreak.

For more information please go to

Cover Your Cough!

Respiratory infections such as influenza and the common cold are most often spread when infected people cough and sneeze and others come into contact with those droplets - either in the air or on objects touched by both groups. The best way to prevent infection is to practice good health habits:

  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze.
  • Stay home when you are ill.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
  • When covering your cough or sneeze most people use their hands, thinking this will prevent others from becoming ill. Unfortunately, our hands spread the virus many more places after covering our cough or sneeze. Watch this video to learn more about properly covering your cough and sneeze.


Did You Know?

  • One out of three Americans don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom.
  • One out of four adults don’t wash their hands after changing a diaper.
  • Two out of three people don’t wash their hands after sneezing or coughing.

What a difference those numbers can make! For example, children who wash their hands at least four times a day missed 51% fewer school days from an upset stomach and 24% fewer school days from colds and influenza.

How to wash your hands:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water is best. If soap or water is not available, use alcohol-based hand gels or wipes.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds. Twenty seconds is longer than you think - sing Happy Birthday, the ABC song, or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to get an idea.
  • Don’t forget to wash your wrists, backs of hands, between fingers and fingernails.
  • Rinse your hands well.
  • Dry your hands with paper towels.
  • Turn off the faucet with a paper towel.
  • If possible, use a paper towel to open the door. Remember, 33% of Americans don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom!

When should you wash your hands?

  • After you cough, sneeze or blow your nose.
  • After using the bathroom or changing a diaper.
  • Before eating, before preparing food and before setting the table.
  • Before you touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • After playing with or caring for pets. Pets can carry as many as 100 different germs that can make you sick!
  • After playing outside.
  • Whenever hands look or feel unclean.