CHICAGO – Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Wednesday 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 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,” Hasbrouck said. “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.”
Ebola is not an airborne infection; it 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 and 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.