Community Health & Preparedness

Community Health & Preparedness

Today, local public health organizations must be prepared to respond in the event of a public health threat such as:iStock-485072070
Infectious disease outbreak

  • Bioterrorism event
  • Chemical spill
  • Contamination of drinking water
  • Natural disasters
Both state and local health departments receive funding from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to improve capacity in planning, epidemiological response, education and training, public risk communication and information dissemination, and improvement of current information technology resources.  The Bell County Public Health District uses these funds to employ full-time employees to support local efforts for public health emergency preparedness.  Please contact the District’s main office at (254)773-4457, if you have any questions or would like additional information.

For more information about preparedness see Here you can find information on how to build an emergency kit and how to prepare your homes generally for disasters.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has information on preparedness that follows the Zombie Preparedness theme. This is meant to take part in the pop culture fascination with zombie movies, books, and television, but the information is valuable and engaging for all-hazards preparedness. That can be found here.


All disasters are local!

In large-scale events, emergency services are overloaded and responders may not be able to get to you as quickly as you need them, which is why preparation for disasters is so important.
Prepare for a health emergency by taking the necessary steps

To learn more about the necessary steps involved in preparing for an emergency please click here.

Remember to plan for your pets too! 
First Aid Kit
Family Disaster Preparedness kit

This kit is intended to keep you fed and safe for at least 3 days. Make sure to include basic things your family needs to survive. To learn more about preparedness kits and what should be included in yours please click here.
Know what to do if disaster strikes

Check on neighbors, especially the elderly or disabled. 
Confine or secure your pets. 
Stay away from downed power lines or other obvious hazards. 


Bioterrorism is an intentional release of biological agents with the intention to cause harm. They may be bacterial or viral in nature. Such agents are typically found in nature but can be altered to increase their potential for harm. Depending on the agent used it may be spread through person-to-person contact, air, or water. These agents are categorized as either Category A Agents, Category B Agents, or Category C Agents. 

To learn more about Bioterrorism category agents please click here.


What is epidemiology?

Epidemiology is the study of disease epidemics and those who practice it deal with the incidence and prevalence of disease in populations. Incidence is the number of new cases in a given time period (this varies by condition) and prevalence is the total number of cases. Epidemiologists try to detect and contain outbreaks and epidemics of disease through a number of methods including, but not limited to, active surveillance, passive surveillance, and response activities.

Detection and management of disease outbreaks require coordination from local agencies and hospitals. In Texas, there are a number of conditions that are mandated by law to be reported to local public health. The list of notifiable conditions can be found on the Texas Department of State Health Services website.

The process for reporting diseases that are mandated by law is to report to your local health department if you have one, and the local health department staff will investigate the report to determine if it is, in fact, necessary to report to the state. See the reporting fax line below in red. 

In addition to monitoring reports of disease as they are submitted epidemiologists also work with preparedness staff to develop plans for the response to public health events such as natural disasters and bioterrorism.

For more information about Epidemiology click here.

Diseases in Schools and Daycare

Some of the most common offenders in schools and daycare centers for illness are colds, norovirus (otherwise known as the stomach flu), influenza, and a handful of other ailments. One of the most important things to remember for both your children and the other children in the facility is that, if your child is ill, keep them at home. There are some great tips on preventing illness on

For Schools and Daycare facilities an outbreak of any of these conditions can be a challenge. This is particularly true because it can be difficult to decontaminate all of the surfaces once contaminated. Norovirus can make this particularly challenging. The EPA has a list of cleaners certified to kill norovirus that is available for reference by clicking here.

The CDC also has valuable information for the prevention of Norovirus and Influenza.

A great tool for schools and daycares regarding illness is this chart that covers details about how long to keep a child home based on illness type and illness signs and symptoms and methods of prevention. 

Do not hesitate to contact us at the Bell County Public Health District for any questions or concerns.