Health district issues statement on Ebola

Kitsap Public Health District sent out a news release Thursday detailing its efforts to prepare the possibility of an Ebola case being identified locally.

The district stressed there have been no cases in our area, and the chance of Ebola of a case being found in Kitsap is extremely small.

The full statement from the district is posted below:

BREMERTON, WA— Currently there are no cases of Ebola in Washington State. The Kitsap Public Health District and local medical community partners are actively working together to prepare for the unlikely event an Ebola case is identified in Kitsap County.

“The odds of having an Ebola patient in Kitsap County are very low. However, the Kitsap Public Health District and the local medical community are taking this issue very seriously,” said Scott Daniels, Administrator for the Kitsap Public Health District.

The key to controlling the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is to identify suspect patients early, isolate them from others, and identify contacts so they can be monitored for symptoms.

 The Health District is in communication with leaders in the local medical community who are working together to coordinate local Ebola readiness efforts. Efforts to date include:

· The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) have prepared extensive guidance on Ebola which Kitsap Public Health has shared with medical providers over the past few weeks.

· Kitsap Public Health is in continuous contact with DOH and CDC on the latest guidance and recommendations.

·  Kitsap Public Health has advised local medical professionals to look for symptoms in patients that could indicate Ebola infection and to ask such patients about their travel to affected countries and/or potential exposure.

· Hospitals and clinics have been advised to review procedures for isolation of possible Ebola patients and for the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by care givers.

· Kitsap Public Health is inventorying local supplies of PPE to ensure readiness.

· The Health District’s communicable disease public health nurses are trained in and routinely provide contact tracing for infectious diseases.

If a suspect case of Ebola is identified in Kitsap County, the individual would be placed in isolation immediately and the Health District would facilitate testing at the DOH Public Health Laboratory (PHL).  The PHL is one of 13 laboratories nationwide that has be selected to test for Ebola.  If there is lab confirmation, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) would immediately dispatch a response team to work with and assist the Health District.

Additional information on Ebola for the public, healthcare providers and first responders is available at www.kitsappublichealth.org.  Additionally, Health District communicable disease public health nurses are available to answer questions about Ebola and can be reached by calling the Health District at 360-337-5235.

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