Illinois Department of Public Health Director Announces Plans for an Ebola Hotline
Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck today is announcing plans to stand up a hotline later this week to answer questions the public may have about Ebola.
“Although, to date, there have been no persons in Illinois under investigation for suspected Ebola that has warranted testing, we understand there is concern and people have many questions. IDPH will be setting up a hotline to help provide answers to questions the public may have, including who may be infected with Ebola, how is it spread and what can I do to avoid it.
“After this morning's announcement of a second health care worker at a Texas hospital who provided care for the first U.S. Ebola victim preliminarily tested positive for Ebola, I would like to reassure Illinoisans that IDPH continues to work closely with hospitals and local health departments to provide guidance to quickly identify any potential cases of Ebola and contain any possible spread.
“The situation in Texas is being investigated to determine how the transmission of Ebola occurred. Information learned by hospital, state and federal officials will be used to inform our efforts in Illinois to help prevent a similar situation here.
“We will continue to communicate with the public and will report any suspected or confirmed Ebola case in Illinois.”
For the most up to date information on the Ebola virus, visit: http://www.idph.state.il.us/ebola/index.htm.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Outlines Ebola Preparedness in Illinois
Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), today briefed the media and public about the state’s preparedness efforts should a case of Ebola be suspected or confirmed in Illinois. At this time, there are no suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola in Illinois.
“I want to reassure the people of Illinois that the state is reviewing and confirming protocols and plans already in place to ensure our public health systems is able to quickly identify a potential case, evaluate the person and isolate them if needed, implement infection control practices, conduct contact tracing of people potentially exposed to a suspected case, submit specimens for laboratory testing and provide care for the patient,” said Dr. Hasbrouck. “If there is a suspected or confirmed case of Ebola in Illinois, we will immediately inform the public and provide as much information as possible.”
It is important to remember that Ebola is NOT an airborne infection. Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces, vomit, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola. A person who is not experiencing symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, cannot transmit the virus.
Any Illinois hospital following CDC's infection control recommendations and can isolate a patient in a private room is capable of safely managing a patient with Ebola.
Handling disease outbreaks is a core public health function and the state is prepared to conduct surveillance for possible cases, implement infection control measures, support medical facilities, perform contact tracing and assist with laboratory testing. IDPH will continue to work with the CDC, local health departments, hospitals and medical facilities.
Preparedness steps IDPH has taken to prepare for a suspect or confirm Ebola case in Illinois:
- Provided guidance on laboratory specimen submission and case management.
- Tested established public health systems to ensure contact tracing is readily available.
- Confirmed plans to establish an Ebola hotline should one be needed.
- Created a web portal with information for IDPH health care partners.
- Completed a CDC online assessment of our emergency preparedness and response activities related to Ebola.
- Participated in national Ebola-related teleconferences.
IDPH will continue to provide all updated CDC guidance through SIREN (State of Illinois Rapid Electronic Notification) to appropriate audiences (Infection Control Professionals, Infectious Disease Physicians, Laboratories, Local Health Departments, Health Care Providers, Health Care Facilities, EMS Systems).
For the most up to date information visit http://www.idph.state.il.us/public/hb/hbebola.htm.