Health Department

Communicable Disease

The Communicable Disease and Epidemiology staff is responsible for:

  • tracking disease trends in the community
  • conducting investigations on reported cases of reportable communicable diseases and outbreaks
  • influenza prevention clinics
  • providing communicable disease and immunization education to child care facilities, schools and parents
  • ensuring children in child care facilities are properly immunized
  • comparing and interpreting data in order to detect possible changes in the health status of the population
  • using leading edge disease surveillance systems to detect changes in trends or distribution of diseases in order to effectively investigate, prevent, and control diseases in the community.
  • maintaining partnerships with the healthcare community
  • community communicable disease education including a Public Health Newsletter distributed to physicians, nurses and pharmacists and a Childcare Newsletter.

To schedule an educational presentation or to request information, please call 816 325-7185.

On this page:

Other disease and safety fact sheets:

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


Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68)

What is Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68)?

Enteroviruses are very common viruses, and most do not cause significant disease.

There are more than 100 types of enteroviruses.

It is estimated that 10 to 15 million enterovirus infections occur in the United States each year. Most enterovirus infections in the U.S. occur seasonally during the summer and fall. In fact, enteroviruses are the second most frequent cause of “the common cold.”

Enteroviruses can cause respiratory illness, febrile rash, and neurologic illnesses, such as aseptic meningitis (swelling of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord) and encephalitis (swelling of the brain).

Unlike the majority of enteroviruses that cause a variety of symptoms, EV-D68 has been associated almost exclusively with respiratory disease and causes mild to unusually severe respiratory illness. EV-D68 infections occur much less often than other enterovirus strains, but like other strains, EV-D68 spreads through close contact with infected people.

What are the symptoms?

People who are infected with EV-D68 can have a range of symptoms, from mild to severe illness requiring hospitalization. However, the full spectrum of EV-D68 illness is not well-defined. Symptoms may include:

Difficulty breathing


New onset wheezing


Tachycardia (fast heartbeat)

How is it transmitted?

EV-D68 can be found in an infected person's secretions (such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum). An infected person can likely spread the virus even if they don't have symptoms. You can get exposed to the virus by:

Having close contact, such as touching or shaking hands, with an infected person

Touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them

Who is at highest risk?

Infants, children, and teenagers are most likely to get infected with enteroviruses and become sick. EV-D68 is most often seen in children ages 6 – 16, but occurs in all ages. People with a history of asthma may be at an increased risk.

How do you prevent EV-D68?

There is no vaccine to protect from EV-D68 infection. Since many infected people do not have symptoms, it is very important to remember to protect yourself and others by following these tips:

Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers

Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

Avoid kissing, hugging, shaking hands, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick

Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick

Stay home when feeling sick, and talk with your doctor

Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue. Throw the tissue in the trash after use and wash your hands.

How do you treat EV-D68?

There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections; specifically there are no anti-viral medications or vaccinations currently available for this purpose. Many infections will be mild and self-limited, requiring only symptomatic treatment. Some people with severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 may need to be hospitalized and receive intensive supportive therapy. Children with cold like symptoms that experience difficulty breathing, are asked to consult with their family physician for further evaluation.

For more information and updates on EV-D68, call (816) 325-7204

E. Coli

Escherichia 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

Communicable Disease Manual

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

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 your cough or sneeze. Watch this video to learn more about properly covering your cough and sneeze.