TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2018

Public should not fear Ebola, Wis. official says

Wisconsin officials are prepared for an Ebola case pops up in the state, but State Health Officer Karen McKeown said on Friday that she is optimistic that will never happen.

“Ebola is only spread through contact with the body fluids of people who are sick with the virus," McKeown said. "It cannot be transmitted through the air. In fact, influenza is more contagious than the Ebola virus.”

Officials released information about the state’s efforts to be proactive regarding the disease that is plaguing West Africa. No one has contracted the Ebola virus in Wisconsin, but the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop plans to respond should a case ever appear.

State officials understand that people are concerned, particularly with recent confirmed diagnosed cases in Texas.

“While there are no cases of Ebola in Wisconsin, and the risk of contracting it remains low, it’s important that medical and public health professionals are able to respond in the event there is a case in the state,” McKeown said.

McKeown said the public and health care providers would receive prompt public health information if anyone is ever diagnosed with the disease in Wisconsin.

She said DHS has been working with health care partners ever since the outbreak began in West Africa to monitor people returning from the region. All health care providers are prepared with appropriate infection control protocols and required precautions for managing an Ebola patient.

McKeown said communication with the CDC will continue and new information will be shared with health care providers and local health departments.

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Wisconsin Department of Public Health

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