First Case of Ebola in US; Mass DPH Releases Advisory

In response to the first case of Ebola in the United States, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Released the advisory below:

“MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY
October 1, 2014

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services on
Tuesday, Sept. 30, confirmed the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States.
There are no Ebola cases in Massachusetts, and the possibility of an Ebola case in the
Commonwealth remains very low. Out of an abundance of caution, the Massachusetts
Department of Public Health has worked closely over the past several months with health care
facilities, doctors and EMS providers to be fully prepared should such a case occur. This is in
addition to the Department’s ongoing work regarding emergency preparedness and disease
prevention.

Massachusetts is well prepared to handle an incidence of Ebola, in the unlikely event that a case
should occur in the Commonwealth. The public can have full confidence that our hospitals have
the expertise, preparedness and capacity to handle such a situation. The infectious disease
controls in Massachusetts and the United States are world class. Should a patient present Ebola
symptoms, the patient would be quickly isolated and treated to prevent the spread of this disease.
Ebola is not spread easily. It is not spread through casual contact or the air. Ebola is transmitted
through direct contact with the bodily fluids of a sick person, including exposure to contaminated
objects, such as needles.

DPH infectious disease, laboratory and emergency preparedness specialists are closely
monitoring the ongoing response to Ebola in Africa – just as we do for any other outbreak of
illness or disease. Here are some of the activities which are currently underway:

 DPH has established a website at mass.gov/dph/ebola to provide clinical advisories and
guidance to public health and healthcare organizations and information for the general
public.

 DPH, in collaboration with the Boston Public Health Commission, has developed
Screening Tools for Evaluating Risk of Ebola Virus Exposure for use by colleges and
universities as well as other settings to assess risks of individuals who have traveled in
the affected countries.

 DPH is in routine contact with health officials at CDC, who in turn partner with the
World Health Organization and other global health organizations to ensure that the latest
and most up-to-date information about the Ebola outbreak is available to health agencies
around the world.

 The Department has been proactively communicating with doctors, EMS providers, local
boards of health, colleges and universities, hospitals and other health care facilities in
Massachusetts to share the latest information on the status of the outbreak.
 DPH provided clinical guidance to hospitals and health care providers on identifying
suspected cases of Ebola virus, safely handling lab specimens, and appropriate protocols
of care for patients.

 DPH is committed to working with our local public health and healthcare partners so that
our healthcare system is prepared to effectively respond in the extremely unlikely event
that a person with symptoms of Ebola virus arrives here.”
###

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