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Public Information Bulletin on Lehigh County’s Preparedness and Ebola Overview

October 17, 2014
Public Information Bulletin

Lehigh County’s Preparedness and Ebola Overview

Lehigh County would like to bring safety awareness to our citizenry and visitors.  The Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the lead agency for the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) preparedness, prevention, and response activities in the U.S.  The enhanced screening protocols enacted by the CDC will be used to monitor any incidents and distribute updates as warranted.

Here in Lehigh County, the 911 Center has enhanced our long standing practice of screening EMS calls for (and advising precautionary actions in response to) respiratory illnesses to include screening for EVD.  These screening and accompanying recommendations have come from the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DoH), as well as our EMD (Emergency Medical Dispatch) provider.  Please note that there is an equally concerning, but much less publicized disease called Enterovirus D-68.  Our current respiratory precautions screening is adequate to encapsulate this disease.

Our local hospitals are very committed to handling an infection and are working constantly to control and /or eliminate the threat.  They have taken an aggressive position to support our pre-hospital care needs. Our first responders are using standard precautions, skills and knowledge to ensure your protection and theirs.
 
As a business or individual we ask that you understand your risk and that the transmission of Ebola is spread through direct contact with the blood or body fluids (including but not limited to feces, saliva, sweat, urine, vomit and semen) of a patient confirmed to have Ebola..  We ask that you recognize signs and symptoms which include a fever and symptoms such as severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal(stomach) pain, or unexplained hemorrhage ( bleeding or bruising).  

Prevention starts with you.  Practice careful hygiene.  Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid contact with items or infected people.  Early recognition is critical for infection control.  If you believe you have been exposed through a trip to an area of concern or someone close to you has, call your doctor whether you have symptoms or not.  Limit your contact with people when you go to doctor.  Follow their direction and restrictions.

Everyday your first responders, healthcare providers, elected officials and emergency management staff from all jurisdictions in the County plan and prepare for all types of hazards.  Please trust in their skills, knowledge and direction with this subject matter as well as other incidents.  We need to work together for a positive response and recovery from tragic events.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT EBOLA

CDC Ebola site:  www.cdc.gov/ebola
CDC travelers’ health site: www.cdc.gov/travel/notices

Scott J. Lindenmuth
Director of Emergency Services