Central Illinois Health Agencies are Ready to Fight Ebola if it Comes

The fear of Ebola is plaguing the minds of millions.  Many want to know is my state, is my city, prepared if the virus were to get close.  Central Illinois health agencies are preparing as we speak.  The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District has a response plan ready to go.

"If a case were to come in, the first line of defense would be either the hospitals or the clinics," said Champaign-Urbana Public Health Administrator, Julie Pryde.  "They would immediately call the health department, we'd put that person in isolation at the hospital, so the hospital would do all that.  All of the hospitals in our area are perfectly capable of treating and isolating a case of Ebola.  And then from there, what the health department would do would be to quarantine any of the contacts that person had."

Quarantine family, friends, or anyone that may have come in contact with the infected person's body fluids.

"We would have to go into the homes at least twice a day," said Pryde.  "Take a temperature.  Check on the individuals.  See how they're doing.  And at the very first sign of any type of symptom, they would then be transported to the hospital and put in isolation.

And the public health district is making sure they're prepared to do that safely.

"What we are doing is ordering some protective equipment," said Pryde.  "It's basically a full body suit with a hood."

St. Mary's Hospital in Decatur is doing the same.

"Because you would need potentially more face shields and impervious gowns, that is something we've added a little more," said infection preventionist, Lynn Berner.  "We do disaster planning meetings.  We do disaster scenarios.  So we have practice."

Both health professionals agree that the chance of the virus spreading to Central Illinois is very low because, unlike West Africa, America's public health infrastructure is incredibly strong.

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