Communicable Disease

Communicable Disease Reporting

Once a communicable disease is reported, public health is required to investigate the circumstances and take all measures necessary to prevent, suppress, and control the spread of the disease. When communicable disease reports are received, Public Health Nurses conduct follow-up activities. These may include interviews with contacts, education, and telephone follow-up.

For additional information related to communicable diseases, visit the Department of Health Services (DHS) Website.

Influenza (Flu)

The flu strikes every year, usually starting in October and peaking between January and March. Symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, and muscle aches.

It is strongly suggested that everyone get vaccinated each flu season. In particular, those who are especially vulnerable should ensure they get vaccinated. This includes:

  • Children below the age of 5
  • Adults over 65
  • Pregnant women

The Portage County clinic provides vaccines against the flu for children 6 months to 18 years of age. They are located at the Ruth Giffry Building, 817 Whiting Avenue. For more information, call 715-345-5350 option 8.

For more information about the flu, please visit the CDC Website.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is the most commonly reported disease in the United States. This disease is passed from a tick bite to a human. Some signs and symptoms of the disease include:

  • An expanding circular rash (may look like a red bulls-eye) at the site of the tick biteCommunicable Disease 1
  • Fever
  • Joint and muscle pains
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Anyone who has these signs and symptoms should contact his/her healthcare provider for further evaluation.

Safety Suggestions:

  • Wear repellent
  • Check for ticks daily
  • Shower soon after being outdoors
  • Wear long sleeves and pants
  • Call your doctor if you get a fever or rash

For additional information about Lyme disease, visit the CDC Website.



Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious disease caused by an Orthopoxvirus, the same genus as the virus that causes smallpox, however, it is less severe. Monkeypox is usually found in several Central and West African countries. Monkeypox does not occur naturally in the U.S.

Prior to May 2022, most human cases occurring outside of Africa were linked to imported animals, international travel to countries where monkeypox is commonly found, and/or contact with a person with a confirmed monkeypox virus infection. There is now ongoing community transmission in non-endemic countries, including the United States, through prolonged direct contact with individuals infected with monkeypox.

Wisconsin has confirmed cases of orthopoxvirus, presumed to be monkeypox, in Wisconsin residents. View the current case counts on the DHS Website.

“Fight the Bite”: West Nile Virus in Wisconsin

West Nile Virus

West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne infection that can cause serious illness, was found in Wisconsin beginning in 2001. It was first identified in the United States in 1999.

In nature, the virus cycles between birds and mosquitoes. It was only when a mosquito infected with the virus bites a person instead of a bird that people become exposed to this virus. As the mosquito season progresses, more mosquitoes are infected with the virus increasing the risk that people being bitten by mosquitoes can become infected with the virus.

For more information visit PubMed Health.