State increasing protection from Ebola

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The State Health Department is increasing measures to protect the health of Hoosiers in the event of an Ebola case in Indiana.

Part of the increased response includes providing a hotline for healthcare workers to answer questions about screening and diagnosing Ebola. The state is also working with local departments to dispose of hazardous waste effectively.

In total, eight individuals have been treated for Ebola in the U.S., including two healthcare workers who treated Tomas Eric Duncan in Dallas, Texas. No cases have been reported in Indiana.

The following statement was released by the Indiana State Department of Health Thursday afternoon:

The Indiana State Department of Health has increased response efforts to include the following:

  • Continuing regular communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Indiana healthcare providers.
  • Establishing a healthcare provider hotline to answer questions about screening and diagnosis of Ebola.
  • Developing a training video for healthcare workers about how to put on and take off personal protective equipment.
  • Creating a questionnaire for healthcare workers to use when screening a patient for Ebola. Includes directions for worker protection and patient management based on answers provided.
  • Planning standing weekly calls with hospitals and local health departments.
  • Working with the Department of Education to provide information to school nurses.
  • Working with the local health departments and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management regarding hazardous waste management specific to Ebola.
  • Continuing to maintain timely and accurate information on the agency’s website (StateHealth.in.gov), Twitter (@StateHealthIN) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/isdh1) pages.

On Oct. 10, State health officials hosted a live webcast to healthcare providers with information about medical guidance and to answer questions. Governor Pence provided opening remarks, recognizing physicians for being on the “front lines” of emerging diseases and sharing the State’s support in preparing to prevent and respond to Ebola.

Eight individuals have been treated for Ebola in the United States, including two healthcare workers who treated patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. No cases have been tested for or reported in Indiana.

People with Ebola can only spread the Ebola virus when they have symptoms. There is no risk of transmission if someone does not have symptoms. In the United States, Ebola is only spread through direct contact with blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces, vomit and semen, or a needlestick) of a person who is sick with Ebola or the body of a person who has died from Ebola.  Ebola is not spread through the air by water or food, or by casual contact.

 

“Ebola is a scary disease, but it’s important for Hoosiers to know the facts about Ebola and get an accurate picture of the risk it poses to us here in Indiana,” said Joan Duwve, M.D., Chief Medical Consultant at the Indiana State Department of Health. “There is unfortunately a great deal of misinformation about Ebola going around on social media and other communication channels. Ebola can only be spread through blood or bodily fluids and only when a person is showing symptoms. Ebola is not airborne and is not easily spread, for example by sitting next to or being in the same room with someone who appears healthy.

 

All Indiana healthcare providers are required to report any cases of illness that might pose a risk to public health including Ebola Virus Disease, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), measles, rubella, mumps, tuberculosis, pandemic influenza and other diseases.

For more information about Ebola Virus Disease, visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s website at www.StateHealth.in.gov or the CDC website at www.cdc.gov.

Follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.

 

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