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Tag Archive | "Ebola"

Traveler in Kent County being monitored for Ebola


N-Kent-County-logoThe Kent County Health Department said today that they are monitoring a traveler who visited a country where an Ebola outbreak has been declared. They said the individual did not provide care for or have contact with anyone who has Ebola, and has a very low risk for Ebola infection by CDC standards. The person is not exhibiting any signs of illness, and the Kent County Health Department will continue to contact the person twice a day over the 21 day surveillance period to monitor for symptoms and report their measured body temperature, as recommended by the MDCH and CDC. No further information regarding the traveler is being made public.

“The Kent County Health Department is sharing this information to remain open and transparent, and most importantly, to recognize that this is the first notification of a traveler, and it probably won’t be the last,” said Adam London, Kent County Health Department Officer. “The most important take-away from this is that this is not an imminent health threat, and this individual is at very low risk for illness. We want the general public to remain informed, and trust in our capabilities.”

Kent County was notified of the traveler as a result the of the CDC airport monitoring system. This week, the CDC started a program to actively monitor all individuals who arrive in the United States after travel to Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone. All air travelers with this travel history are now being routed through five major airports (Atlanta, Dulles, Newark, JFK and O’Hare) where screening for Ebola symptoms and risk factors will take place. This information is entered into a national system and is then provided to state health departments for distribution to local health departments, who are responsible for monitoring the health of these travelers.

“Increased surveillance and monitoring has been critical in recent weeks and will continue to be critical as long as there are cases of Ebola in the world,” said London. “Contact tracing and monitoring has been extremely successful in Senegal and Nigeria, where Ebola outbreaks were contained and now, the countries are Ebola-free. We have confidence in the systems and protocols that are in place, and Kent County is fully prepared to monitor anyone with a travel history to an Ebola outbreak region.”

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) continues to work with local partners and state and federal agencies to stay on top of the Ebola outbreak. Ebola is a rare, serious viral infection. It is not airborne or waterborne. A person infected with Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear, which can take up to 21 days. The virus only spreads by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of a person who has symptoms. Although the initial signs and symptoms of Ebola are flu-like in nature (i.e. fever, headache, muscle pain), health care workers and the family and friends who provide care for a person sick with Ebola are at highest risk for infection and the general public should not be concerned about Ebola if they develop flu-like symptoms. Risk factors for Ebola have not changed and include recent travel history to Sierra Leone, Guinea or Liberia or direct contact with someone who is sick with or died from Ebola.

It is important to note that the Ebola virus does not show up in a blood test until the person is showing symptoms, and there are only 12 labs in the U.S. that can test for Ebola. Therefore, the CDC has very pointed, specific guidance about the testing process, and must approve any testing. Results can take 24 to 48 hours to confirm.

Last week, the Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) was reactivated. MMRS is a program that supports the integration of emergency management, health, and medical systems into a coordinated response to mass casualty incidents caused by any hazard. MMRS is operating to ensure a coordinated response between public health, first responders, law enforcement, hospitals, and community leaders. KCHD continues to be in contact with their partners in MMRS on a regular basis as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols and guidance continue to evolve.

KCHD will provide updates as necessary at www.accesskent.com/Health/ebola.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Local agencies train for worldwide Ebola outbreak


 

News came out this week that a second healthcare worker in a Dallas, Texas hospital has tested positive for the Ebola virus, after caring for a man who died there from it last week. So far, it is the only place in the U.S. affected by the virus. However, officials in Kent County aren’t twiddling their thumbs. Instead, they are proactively preparing to combat the threat.

Officials from the City of Grand Rapids, Kent County, area hospitals and first response agencies met Monday to discuss emergency preparedness regarding the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus worldwide. Discussions centered on the virus, transmission, prevention, patient isolation and monitoring, in case there was a patient with Ebola–like symptoms who had travelled to (or had close contact with someone from) the region impacted by Ebola.

“This meeting brought key first responders and healthcare providers to the same table to discuss our preparedness plans with county and city officials,” said Jack Stewart, Emergency Management Coordinator. “We need to be able to respond quickly, while making sure we are protecting our front-line personnel and others.”

The meeting resulted in a decision to reestablish the Metropolitan Medical Response System, which will ensure a coordinated effort.

The meeting included representatives of Emergency Management, the Grand Rapids City Manager’s Office, Grand Rapids Police Department, Grand Rapids Fire Department, Kent County Health Department, Kent County Administrator’s Office, Kent County EMS, Spectrum Health, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, and Metro Health Hospital.

“We are working to bring all of the right people to the table to discuss this emerging health threat,” said  Greg Sundstrom, Grand Rapids City Manager. “Knowing who to call before an emergency helps us provide the most successful response we can.”

The Kent County Health Department has provided guidance to area health care providers, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) direction. “The region’s top emergency and medical professionals are making sure all providers have the right information and tools,” said Dan Koorndyk, Chair of the Kent County Board of Commissioners. “This type of cooperation ensures that our team is always prepared and informed.”

Area hospitals are continuously training for the unexpected. “We welcome the opportunity to work with our Kent County partners on this issue,” Michael Kramer, MD, Spectrum Health Senior Vice President & Chief Quality

Officer. “Spectrum Health is committed to providing all available assistance to our partners to educate and protect our community and health care workers.”

“As a community well-known for its collaboration, West Michigan’s health care providers and key stakeholders are preparing as best as we can, focusing on education, awareness and monitoring to prevent Ebola from occurring within our region,” said Mary Neuman, RN, BSN, MM, CIC, Director of Infection Control at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. “All these pieces to keep our community safe will require constant and open communication among our health care systems.”

“By working together with the Kent County Health Department and area hospitals and using CDC guidelines, we are able to share best practices that truly benefit our community,” said Svetlana Dembitskaya, Metro Health chief operating officer. “Our community can rest assured that we are working together to provide the high quality care West Michigan residents expect and deserve.”

Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease in humans. The CDC continues to issue regular updates to state and local authorities. The outbreak continues to affect several countries in West Africa: Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.

Currently, those at highest risk include healthcare workers and the family and friends of a person infected with Ebola. A person infected with Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear, which can take up to 21 days.

Signs and symptoms of Ebola are flu-like in nature. They typically include:

Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)

Severe headache

Muscle pain

Vomiting

Diarrhea

Stomach pain

Unexplained bleeding or bruising

No one in Kent County has met the criteria for testing at this time, and no cases of Ebola have been confirmed in Michigan.

 

 

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Man in Texas dies from Ebola virus


 

Health Department & Emergency Management monitors Ebola situation 

 

GRAND RAPIDS – The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) and Kent County Emergency Management (KCEM) continues to monitor the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the case in Texas, where a man from Liberia who came to the U.S. died from Ebola Wednesday. Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease in humans. KCHD and KCEM are regularly receiving updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on this emerging outbreak.

The outbreak involves several countries in West Africa: Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and Nigeria. Currently, those at highest risk include healthcare workers and the family and friends of a person infected with Ebola. Area health care providers have received information from the KCHD based on CDC guidance.

“The death in Texas today is a tragic reminder that Ebola is a serious illness,” said Adam London, Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department. “But it also has been an excellent reminder of how well our public health system works in the United States. There have been no additional reports of illness as a result of this one case at this time, because of the emergency response and precautions taken by health care providers and epidemiologists.”

“The level of cooperation and information-sharing between emergency agencies helps keep local municipalities like Kent County informed and well-prepared,” said Jack Stewart, Emergency Management Coordinator for Kent County. “Keeping community leaders, first responders and our local emergency departments updated has been our top priority.”

A person infected with Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear, which can take up to 21 days. Signs and symptoms of Ebola are quite flu-like in nature. They typically include:

Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)

Severe headache

Muscle pain

Vomiting

Diarrhea

Stomach pain

Unexplained bleeding or bruising

No one in Kent County has met the criteria for testing at this time, and no cases of Ebola have been confirmed in Michigan.

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