Dane County Prepares for Ebola
Friday, October 31, 2014 - 9:50am
Risk remains very low
There are no Ebola cases in Dane County or Wisconsin, and the risk of Ebola remains low. Public Health Madison-Dane County and our partner organizations are working together to make sure Dane County is prepared in the event Ebola arrives in our community. It is important to know that people can only get Ebola by direct contact with the body fluids of someone who has the disease and is showing symptoms of being ill. Ebola is a serious concern, but only if you have traveled to Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia and have had direct, fluid-based contact with someone who has Ebola. Statistically, a person is more likely to catch the seasonal flu, mumps, or measles than Ebola.
Public Health-Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) is working with organizations countywide as they continue to develop their Ebola readiness plans, assuring that current CDC and state guidelines are followed, and that there is a coordinated response. “Partners are meeting regularly to make sure they are aware of each other’s plans, and can provide support and communication with each other if there is a case in Dane County,” said Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health-Madison & Dane County. “We thank our hospitals, clinics, university and colleges, the airport and emergency response providers for working hard to put plans in place and coordinate with each other to identify cases, provide high level care for an Ebola patient, and protect the community, health care providers and first responders.”
Many organizations are involved in Ebola preparedness activities.
- Dane County hospitals and clinics are training staff, holding practice drills, and readying protective equipment in preparation for identifying Ebola patients, isolating them, and providing treatment.
- The University of Wisconsin-Madison is in contact with students and staff arriving from the affected West Africa countries, is monitoring their health, and is consulting with others who might be traveling there.
- The Dane County Regional Airport has a plan in place to respond to the possibility that a traveler with symptoms arrives here.
- Dane County Public Safety Communications has put in place procedures to identify potential cases and ensure first responders can treat and transport persons with appropriate care.
- Dane County Emergency Responders (EMS, Fire and Law Enforcement) are working to develop personal protective equipment, response and transport protocols to ensure Ebola patients receive appropriate care while ensuring responders and the general public aren’t exposed.
- PHMDC staff is in contact with persons who have returned to Dane County from Guinea, Sierra Leone, or Liberia to assess whether they might have been exposed and to monitor their health.
- PHMDC is providing Ebola-specific information through the PHMDC website, social media, and communications directly with specific populations and organizations.
If you are feeling unwell, it is likely influenza or any of the cold viruses currently circulating in Dane County. These viruses are much more common and more easily spread than Ebola. The best things you can do to stay healthy are to get your flu vaccine and wash your hands.
- Jeff Golden, Public Health Madison Dane County, (608) 243-0302