As concerns grow regarding Ebola Virus Disease (Ebola), Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH) continues to heighten its preparedness and response efforts. These efforts are being made to increase the level of readiness at local hospitals, schools, healthcare providers, government agencies, and other community partners, in the event an Ebola case is diagnosed in Cobb or Douglas County.
“We understand that the residents of Cobb and Douglas Counties are concerned about the spread of Ebola virus, “said Dr. Jack Kennedy, District Health Director, CDPH. “We want the community to know that their local health department is working with an expanded list of local, state and federal partners to be as prepared as possible should any cases be identified.”
CDPH is actively working with local partners to provide information and guidance regarding Ebola. This includes holding tabletop exercises and daily updates to ensure health care workers are not only aware of how to diagnose a possible Ebola infection, but also how to minimize the risk of exposure if a case is detected. CDPH has also created an Ebola Response Team tasked with addressing the potential impact Ebola could have on Cobb and Douglas Counties.
Facts about Ebola
- Ebola virus is spread through direct contact with the blood or body fluids (including but not limited to feces, saliva, urine, vomit, breast milk and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola. The virus in blood and body fluids can enter another person’s body through broken skin or unprotected mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth.
- The virus also can be spread through contact with objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus, or with infected animals.
- Ebola is NOT spread through the air or by water or, in general, by food; however, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bush meat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats.
- Health workers caring for Ebola patients and family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk.
- Symptoms of Ebola include: fever (including low-grade), headache, weakness, muscle pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, diarrhea, abdominal pain or hemorrhage.
- Symptoms appear 2 to 21 days after exposure but the average is 8 to 10 days.
- Ebola should be considered in patients who have traveled to affected countries or have been exposed to someone with Ebola and have compatible symptoms.
- There is not a specific test for a person without symptoms.
Health care providers should be alert for, and evaluate any patient who has had travel during the 21 days before symptom onset from an Ebola-affected area (currently Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone) OR had contact with an individual who has Ebola.
Travelers, upon returning to the United States from affected regions, will be actively monitored for symptoms by public health for 21 days. CDPH is working with its community partners to make sure they are aware and up-to-date on the latest screening guidelines for the Ebola virus.
For more information on Ebola protection and prevention and to find the latest screening guidelines, visit http://dph.georgia.gov/ebola.