By AMY REEL
Indiana State Department of Health
State and local health officials are increasing measures to protect the health of Hoosiers in the event of an Ebola case in Indiana.
“The State Health Department and healthcare partners, with the support of Gov. Pence, are taking extensive measures now to ensure that if we have a case of Ebola here, we will be ready to treat patients, isolate contacts and contain the spread of the disease,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “People are understandably afraid, but Hoosiers should take comfort knowing Indiana has excellent health systems in place, which are routinely relied upon to successfully treat serious infectious diseases.”
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 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 www.StateHealth.in.gov, Twitter @StateHealthIN and Facebook, www.facebook.com/isdh1 pages.
State health officials hosted a live webcast on Friday, Oct. 10 to healthcare providers with information about medical guidance and to answer questions.
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.
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, measles, rubella, mumps, tuberculosis, pandemic influenza and other diseases.