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Disease Investigations and Outbreaks (Epidemiology)

Flu Activity

Flu activity has decreased to low levels throughout Polk County. To guard against getting the flu, residents are reminded to:

  • Get the flu shot if they haven’t already.
  • Practice frequent handwashing 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.
  • Contact their health care provider if they are persons with a chronic illness or who are pregnant and suspect their illness might be influenza.

For more information on current flu activity throughout Florida, visit Influenza | Florida Department of Health (

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.
  • Fielding investigation of cases and outbreaks.
  • Leading poisoning prevention services such as screening, surveillance, and case management.
  • Doing community outreach and health education activities.
  • Engaging in 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

Reporting Information for Physicians, Laboratories, and Hospitals

Reportable Diseases and Conditions (PDF 1mb opens in new window)

Foodborne Illnesses 


  • For a comprehensive guide to rabies prevention and control in Florida, including recommendations for responding to human and animal exposures to a suspected rabid animal, please visit the rabies page.

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