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Disease Investigations and Outbreaks (Epidemiology)

Flu Activity

Polk County's current flu activity level is: MILD

Flu activity has been widespread throughout Polk County. To guard against getting the flu residents are reminded to:

  • Get the flu shot, if they haven’t already.
  • Practice frequent hand-washing with soap and water
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue or elbow
  • Stay home for at least 24 hours after a fever has subsided, if they have experienced flu-like symptoms.
  • Persons with a chronic illness, or who are pregnant, should contact their health care provider if they suspect their illness that might be influenza.

What Services Are Available?

The Disease Outbreak Control Program (Epidemiology) monitors and investigates certain diseases that can be passed from one person to another (communicable). Florida law requires all healthcare providers, hospitals, and laboratories to report certain diseases to the health department.

Epidemiology staff members take action to prevent infectious disease outbreaks from occurring in Polk County.

In addition, they also provide the following services to the citizens of Polk County:

  • Monitoring and reporting of communicable diseases and conditions
  • Field investigation of cases and outbreaks
  • Lead poisoning prevention services, such as screening, surveillance, and case management
  • Community outreach and health education activities
  • Public Health Preparedness (getting ready for disasters and disease outbreaks or events)

Local businesses, civic organizations, and other agencies may contact the Disease Outbreak Control Program to request information on the following:

  • Bacterial and viral meningitis
  • Childhood lead poisoning
  • Hand washing
  • MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus)
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Rabies
  • Salmonella
  • Seasonal flu and bird flu
  • Shigella
  • West Nile Virus and other communicable diseases.

Data & Information


Our Epidemiology Team produces a regular newsletter entitled, "Epi-Gram". Please see below for the most up to date edition. 


View realtime data using MERLIN. Click here to access information through Florida Charts. (Requires Internet Explorer)

Click here to download the most recent Morbidity Report.

Reporting Information for Physicians, Laboratories and Hospitals

Reportable Diseases and Conditions (pdf)

Foodborne Illnesses

  • Illnesses due to food can be reported online 24/7 at  
  • For reporting unsafe or unsanitary conditions, please visit


  • A comprehensive guide to rabies prevention and control in Florida, including recommendations for responding to both human and animal exposures to a suspected rabid animal, is available at

Mosquito and Tickborne Diseases

When & Where?

Epidemiology Unit

2090 E. Clower Street
Bartow, FL 33830

Epidemiology Phone: (863) 519-8300
Epidemiology Fax: (863) 519-8306
After Hours Phone: (863) 519-7900

Hours: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday