The Worcester County Health Department (WCHD) recognizes that the public is concerned about the current outbreak of Ebola in the West African region and that cases have arisen in the United States. We are working in partnership with Atlantic General Hospital, local health care providers, Worcester County Emergency Management and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to respond in the event there is ever a suspected case of Ebola in Worcester County.
To date, there have been two deaths in the United States attributable to the Ebola virus. No active cases in the US are being monitored. So far domestic infections are directly related to the first case in Dallas though there has been positive identification of Ebola in a small number of health care workers returning from West Africa. New observation and tracking procedures have been implemented in Maryland to monitor anyone flying into the state from Guinea, Sierra Leone, Mali or Liberia.
The Worcester County Health Department is taking these and other steps in preparing to respond to a case of Ebola in our County by:
- Creating a 24/7 Case Investigation and Response Team in order to investigate and monitor any potential Ebola cases. The Response Team will assure that appropriate isolation is in place when needed.
- Training On-call staff to assure an appropriate response to any Ebola related calls they may receive.
- Accessing local, state, and national resources for support should it be needed.
- Coordinating with local Fire/EMS and law enforcement staff to assure that our local responders have the appropriate equipment and are trained in its use.
- Establishing an Incident Command team that is meeting regularly to review and refine our response plans or activities.
- Participating in DHMH and CDC sponsored trainings, conference calls, or meetings regarding the Ebola outbreak.
- Providing information on the WCHD website (www.worcesterhealth.org) as well as the public health information phone line (410-632-4321). This information will be updated regularly as warranted.
- Training appropriate staff in proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- Preparing quarantine procedures.
There is additional information about Ebola provided by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene ( http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/OIDEOR/SIPOR/SitePages/ebola.aspx
) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/
) web sites.
Maryland DHMH - Ebola Virus Disease– General Information
What is Ebola virus disease?
Ebola virus disease is a severe, often fatal, viral disease. For the most current information regarding Ebola and outbreaks caused by Ebola, visit http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/
What are the symptoms of Ebola virus disease?
Ebola virus disease symptoms usually include fever. Other symptoms may include headache, diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, joint and muscle aches, stomach pain, lack of appetite and bleeding. The symptoms can be similar to other, more common, infections. Symptoms appear 2-21 days after exposure to the virus, but most commonly occur 8-10 days after exposure.
How is Ebola spread?
Individuals who do not have a fever are not contagious and cannot transmit the disease to another person. The Ebola virus is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person with symptoms or through exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected body fluids. Transmission can also occur from directly handling bats, rodents or primates in areas where Ebola occurs.
Who is at risk for Ebola?
Individuals who have recently been in a country with known Ebola, and who also have:
- Contact with blood or other body fluids of a patient or dead body known to have or suspected to have Ebola, or
- Direct handling of bats, rodents or primates.
If someone has symptoms of Ebola virus disease and a possible exposure, that person should see a health care provider.
What is the treatment for Ebola?
There is no specific treatment for Ebola; treatment is limited to close monitoring and supportive care in a hospital.
What is the risk of Ebola in Maryland?
Currently, the risk of acquiring Ebola in Maryland is extremely low. If a case is identified, there are established infection control guidelines to prevent transmission.
What is the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) doing?
DHMH is monitoring the national and global situation and is in frequent communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). DHMH is conducting disease surveillance and regularly communicates with and distributes guidance to Maryland hospitals and health care providers. DHMH works with health care providers and local health departments to quickly investigate reports of possible Ebola infections.
Where can I learn more?
Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Toll Free 1-877-4MD-DHMH – TTY/Maryland Relay Service 1-800-735-2258