Communicable Diseases

The Health Department works with private providers, hospitals, area labs, schools and universities, Fort Riley, as well as other local, regional, and state organizations to identify and report illnesses and diseases that impact the health.  The Health Department is responsible for assuring that diseases that are reported to the agency and to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment are investigated and affected people or populations are linked to care or services.  To learn more go to

You can help control communicable diseases through:
  • Good hand washing and covering your mouth and nose with your elbow when sneezing or coughing “sneeze in your sleeve” 
  • Eat healthy and exercise 
  • Stay home when ill 
  • Be current on vaccinations that protect against diseases 
  • Be sure your animals are vaccinated
  • Disease surveillance
  • Disease reporting and investigation
    • To report a communicable disease or suspect disease click here
Zika Virus
Zika virus (ZIKV) is an arthropod-borne disease, transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito of the genus Aedes. However, it can also be spread through sexual contact between an infected male and his partner.  There are two species of mosquito that spread Zika Virus, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.  While both of these mosquitoes can be found in Kansas, they are most common in tropical locations, such as the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, Africa and southern Asia.  There has been no local transmission of the disease in the United States.

The most common symptoms of Zika Virus Disease include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis; other symptoms include muscle pain and headache.  These symptoms generally last for 7-10 days.

There have been reports of illness while pregnant and adverse health outcomes in newborn babies.  Scientists from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) are currently working to determine the link between infection while pregnant and adverse health outcomes.

While there is no vaccine to prevent illness, treatment includes rest and hydration and taking Acetaminophen (Tylenol) to combat pain and fever.  It is important not to take NSAIDs, like Ibuprofen or Naproxen.

The most effective way to prevent getting sick is to use an EPA-registered insect repellent (i.e. Off!, Cutter, Sawyer, Skin So Soft).  When outdoors, especially if traveling to areas with ongoing disease transmission, it is important to wear insect repellent, long-sleeve shirts and long pants.  At home, remember to eliminate areas where standing water can occur.

For more information, you can check out our Zika Virus Fact Sheet (pdf) or visit CDC's Zika Virus Page or the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.