Ebola Virus Disease
Health District Actions Against Ebola
The Snohomish Health District has initiated multiple planning efforts around ebola. Provided is a summary of the actions the Health District has taken:
- As part of a national effort to track and monitor ebola virus disease, the Snohomish Health District has been in contact with health care providers in the community to inform them about the disease. Regular communications will continue with health care providers within the county as more information is known about the ebola virus disease. Hospitals and colleges have been asked to screen travelers about recent trips to West Africa (specifically Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone) or contact with ill persons while in West Africa. There are no confirmed or suspected cases of ebola virus disease in Washington State.
- At this time, all cases of human illness or death from ebola virus have originated in West Africa. There has been one confirmed case, in a patient coming from Liberia, diagnosed in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with Texas Public Health officials to determine if others have been exposed.
- Ebola doesn’t spread easily; it takes direct contact with bodily fluids of an infected person. The key to controlling the spread of disease, including ebola, is to identify possible cases early and isolate them from others. Then, the people they’ve had contact with while contagious are found so they can be monitored for illness. Systems and personnel are in place for this work.
- The Washington public health system has a long-standing and well-established disease monitoring and tracking system in place that looks for many diseases, now including ebola. It’s a collaborative effort among state public health, federal health authorities including CDC and its office of Global Migration and Quarantine, local public health, and the health care community.
- Washington State Public Health Laboratories are among 13 state labs nationwide qualified to conduct initial testing for ebola in Washington and other states in the northwest region. Suspected positive cases would go to CDC labs for confirmation. Public health staff in Washington State have been trained and are ready to identify contacts of ebola virus disease patients.
Ebola Virus Disease Screening Forms
The Snohomish Health District has created some Ebola Virus Disease screening forms for school health clinics, hospitals, and healthcare clinics. These guidelines are based on CDC recommendations and will be updated as needed.