Communicable Disease 

Disease Prevention Specialists (DPS) investigate all lab-confirmed cases of reportable disease in residents of Johnson County. Investigations involve contacting the physician or clinic to learn about symptoms and treatment, as well as contacting the patient to learn about risk factors and potential contacts. The goal of the investigation is to identify the cause of disease and to prevent additional spread. 

The DPS staff also investigate outbreaks of reportable diseases as well as non-reportable diseases, such as influenza or norovirus. 

In addition to investigating cases of disease, DPS work to prevent occurrence of disease through informational campaigns to the general public as well as health care providers. 


The DPS staff manage cases of both active and latent tuberculosis(TB) and perform TB testing. 

Latent TB: DPS provide free medication (through the State of Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)) to clients diagnosed with latent tuberculosis. Latent TB does not cause any illness and is not transmissible but could progress to active TB disease if not treated.  Medication is dispensed at monthly appointments (for 3-9 months) where DPS are able to ensure that clients do not experience side effects from the medication or develop active tuberculosis. 

Active TB: DPS dispense medication (also free from HHS) prescribed by their treating provider. DPS visit the client for  Directly Observed Therapy (DOT), to ensure compliance, assess for side effects, and monitor symptoms of illness. Treatment lasts for roughly 6 -12 months. Cases of active TB can also involve contact investigations, where people at risk for exposure to TB are identified, tested, and treated if necessary. 

Animal Bite/ Bat Rabies 

All reported animal bites involving  human exposure are investigated to assess for the risk of rabies. If the animal is owned, DPS follow up with the owner and victim to assess for risk of rabies transmission and recommend rabies prophylaxis if needed. In the case of a wildlife bite DPS staff can help evaluate rabies risk and next steps. 

Food Complaint/ Foodborne Illness 

DPS follow up on all foodborne illness complaints. DPS interview the sick individual to find out what they ate and what they did prior to their illness.  


DPS conduct annual immunization audits for all schools within Johnson County in order to ensure that students are up-to-date with their vaccinations. In addition to schools, DPS also assist refugees with making sure they have all necessary vaccinations, as well as helping to complete immigration paperwork. 

Cold or Allergies? Here's how to tell!


Chart of common symptom for various colds, virus, flu, allergies, or asthma