Long Beach Health Department Well-Prepared to Respond to Ebola Occurrence If Needed
2014-10-03 · By Editor
Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that there is a confirmed case of Ebola Virus Disease (Ebola) in Texas. The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) would like to reassure the residents of Long Beach that there are no suspected cases of Ebola here in our City.
“We do not anticipate an outbreak of Ebola to occur here, however if a suspected case of Ebola should occur, the Health Department is well-prepared and equipped to swiftly respond,” said Mitchell Kushner, MD, MPH, City of Long Beach Health Officer. “The Health Department has been actively preparing for a possible case of Ebola in Long Beach. We are confident that the level of precaution required to protect against Ebola is well within the capabilities of hospitals in Long Beach.”
The Health Department has taken proactive steps by providing information about Ebola, its diagnosis, and the management of suspected cases to health care providers and all hospitals throughout the city. Last month, the Health Department met with healthcare partners from the five major hospitals in Long Beach to discuss Ebola preparedness and readiness. In the event of a single case or even multiple cases of illness, the Health Department and its hospital partners have the ability to identify and diagnose any suspected Ebola case, isolate any patient with a confirmed diagnosis, provide appropriate care with strict infection control, and work with those who have had contact with the patient. Hospitals in Long Beach with the ability to provide a patient his or her own room and bathroom are able to isolate that patient and provide competent and complete medical care for Ebola.
“It is important to note that the risk of spreading Ebola is very low in the U.S. and in Long Beach. Ebola patients can only spread the disease when they have symptoms, and a person ‘catches’ this illness only when they have direct contact with an infected person’s body fluids. Avoiding direct contact with the patient and his or her fluids protects others from infection,” said Dr. Kushner.
People should avoid unnecessary travel to countries in West Africa that are currently affected by the Ebola outbreak (i.e., Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria). If you recently visited one of these countries and had contact with someone infected with Ebola, you should visit your doctor and discuss your travel history. If you visited one of these countries, but you did not have contact with anyone infected with Ebola, you should take your temperature twice a day. If you get a fever or other symptoms within 21 days of your return to the U.S., visit your doctor and discuss your travel history.
The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services continues to monitor for any possible cases of Ebola, and we continue to work with our partners and health care providers to protect health, prevent disease, and promote the health and well-being of all residents of Long Beach and surrounding areas. For more information about Ebola, visit the CDC webpage at www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola.