State Health Officials: Ohio Prepared For Ebola

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The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) say Ohio is prepared for the unlikely event of an Ebola outbreak in the state.

In a conference call on Tuesday, ODH officials said health care professionals are up-to-date on how to spot and treat the Ebola virus.

The Department said a main component of their prepardness plan is to educate Ohioans about Ebola.

Dr. Mary DiOrio, State Epidemiologist and interim Chief of the Division of Prevention and Health Promotion at ODH, said average Ohioans do not need to be concerned about the virus.

DiOrio said those at risk for contracting the disease are individuals who traveled to-and-from West Africa and those in close contact with individuals diagnosed with Ebola.

Because some early Ebola symptoms are similar to that of the flu, ODH said Ohioans need to be aware of these risk factors and realize it is "highly unlikely" that there will be an "uncontrollable Ebola outbreak" in the state.

Some individuals are concerned they could unknowingly be in contact with someone who has been exposed to Ebola.

President of the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners Board of Directors, Sheila Hiddleson, said medical professionals in the state are prepared to conduct Ebola contact tracing.

"We look at that like a pebble in the water," Hiddleson said. "The pebble is the first patient. We are going to go to their immediate contact. We are then going to keep moving out that circle until we are sure that we have found everyone that they might have come in contact with. As we do that, we are going to be classifying people as a low, medium, or high risk. Then we impliment motoring procedures with those folks to go ahead and keep their temperature and do a log for the 21 days so that if there is a spread of disease, we're going to identify that very quickly."

ODH said they are in contact with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to discuss the protocal and procedures used in Dallas, TX in light of the recent Ebola cases in the state.

DiOrio said once new information is shared, Ohio will adjust its Ebola preparedness plan as needed.