Howell County Health Department is part of a health alert network (HAN), that originates with CDC, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA. CDC alerts Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services who, in turn, notifies us, your local health agency, within moments of an issuance of a public health alert. We, in turn, share this information with the local emergency response team, law enforcement, hospitals, physicians, schools, etc. The system allows us to have “blast fax” capability, to send alerts via computer, to an e-mail address or a fax address. We also use this network to send out our monthly newsletter called “The Monthly Monitor”. We utilize HAN to gather information daily from the community regarding flu like symptoms which is a high alert surveillance system. This way we will have early warning of an increase above the normal baseline, that indicates a sudden rise in flu like symptoms which are similar to symptoms found regarding bio-terrorism diseases. We then share this information with DHSS and CDC.
Presently our goal is to see that the community receives the correct information regarding anthrax, smallpox and other bio-terrorism disease and is educated regarding these diseases and threats. We are available for presentations and fact sheets regarding these diseases are available in our office.