Skagit County Public Health and Community Services says they are working closely with county hospitals and health care providers to assure the county is prepared to address the risk of Ebola virus in travelers returning from West Africa.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have provided extensive materials to assist health care facilities in addressing the public health risks posed by the virus, as well as isolation and treatment of potential cases.
Ebola cannot be spread by a person until they are showing symptoms. The CDC states that Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with
blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus infected animals Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats.
Health officials report the risk of an outbreak in this country is considered very low and can be managed with proper evaluation and monitoring up to 21 days after travelers/aid workers return from a country with Ebola.
If symptoms develop within 21 days, ill people should notify their health care provider that they have recently returned from a country with Ebola before entering a healthcare facility, so isolation procedures can be followed immediately. Hospitals in Skagit County have isolation procedures and facilities in place should they be necessary. Health care providers will immediately notify Public Health (360-336-9397) of any patients at risk of Ebola virus.
Businesses, colleges, and other organizations should have plans in place for receiving students/workers from the affected countries, monitoring them for symptoms and isolating them if symptoms develop.
All travelers coming from West Africa with high or low risk exposures to Ebola virus should be reported to Public Health (360-336-9397). More information on the virus and preparedness in the United States can be found at the CDC website.