We are not currently investigating any local patients suspected of having Ebola Virus Disease, but many U.S. citizens are asking questions about the spread of the Ebola Virus. North Central Public Health District would like our citizens to know what they should and shouldn’t be concerned about.
Ebola is a serious, often deadly illness, but it’s not highly communicable. The risk of Ebola disease here in Oregon is low. Health officials are ready to respond in the event that a person ill with Ebola infection arrives in Oregon. We are sharing information with the public health and medical communities so we will be ready to get ill persons into proper care and prevent infection of others. We use tried and true core public health interventions to protect the health of Oregonians.
Spread of Ebola virus requires direct contact with body fluids of an ill, infected person who has symptoms, either by touching the ill person or a surface recently contaminated by his or her bodily fluids. Ebola is not an airborne illness.
State and local health authorities are in contact with the CDC Quarantine Station, which will be immediately notified if any ill travelers arrive at the airport. There are emergency plans in place at Portland International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to deal with just this sort of situation. Those working at airports play an important role in keeping potentially imported illnesses like Ebola in check: By knowing what to do and who to call when a traveler presents with unusual illness, airport personnel help recognize and contain illnesses so they don’t have a chance to spread.
The situation is evolving and the information provided today may change. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites contain current and credible information. OHA will also be working with 211 to provide non-urgent guidance. Dial 2-1-1 (or 866-698-6155) or visit www.211info.org. 211 can direct families and individuals with personal or community struggles to services that can help.
211 is currently open M-F from 8 am to 6 pm.
Please refer to these trusted sources, and we will continue to keep you updated:
OHA Ebola pages: http://public.health.oregon.gov/DiseasesConditions/DiseasesAZ/Pages/disease.aspx?did=128
CDC Ebola Link: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/qa.html
(For more information, please contact North Central Public Health District at (541) 506-2600 or visit us on the web at www.ncphd.org.)