Since the events of September 11th, the role of the local health department has expanded to include a strong focus on enhanced surveillance in order to detect and respond to emerging threats. During a public health emergency, the Marion County Health Department has specific roles.
In the case of an influenza outbreak, we work from a prevention model, providing staff to educate the public on safe practice so that influenza is not spread person to person. Vaccinations are also provided in order to protect the population.
In the case of food borne illness, we investigate food establishments for cleanliness and food handling practices. Victims are personally interviewed in order to collect and document illness signs and symptoms. This information helps to develop case definitions so that others suffering from the same illness can be identified and treated.
In the case of a biological terrorist event, we are the likely first responders. This means our trained health department professionals will provide public education, increase disease surveillance, investigate any reported illnesses, provide mass emergency medications or vaccinations, and work with partnering agencies to initiate prevention protocols and activate treatment plans. We will be able to provide mass inoculation or medication to all residents if necessary.
As your county health department, we are committed to keeping you and your family safe. We are your information source during a public health emergency.