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Department of Public Health and partners guard county’s public health
from Ebola threat

October 17, 2014

Hendersonville, NC— The Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Epidemiology (Epi) Team held a special meeting today to prepare protocols for a case of Ebola in our area. DPH maintains an Epi Team to strengthen the capacity of the department to respond to events such as Ebola. Epi Team includes individuals from the Department of Public Health, Emergency Medical Services, law enforcement, hospitals, primary care providers, urgent care providers, epidemiologists and regional and state officials.  DPH and its partners have been monitoring and preparing for Ebola since August.

“Though North Carolina has not had a diagnosed case of Ebola, our awareness and planning entails preparing for the possibility of such an infection occurring even in Henderson County,” said Health Director Steve Smith. “DPH is continually monitoring communicable disease trends both within and outside North Carolina, which involves working with our medical partners in the private sector, including Pardee Hospital and Park Ridge Health.”

The Department of Public Health has taken these steps to prepare for Ebola threat:

1. Surveillance/Disease Reporting – Ebola is a reportable condition. Providers and labs are required to report all suspected cases immediately.

2. 24/7 Possible Case Investigation and Response – DPH has a 24/7 system to respond to and investigate possible Ebola cases and to monitor that appropriate isolation is in place while an assessment is underway.

3. Infection Prevention Guidance to Healthcare Providers – How to properly isolate a suspected patient and appropriate personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and others will be disseminated to:
•hospital emergency departments;
•hospital infection prevention officials;
•nursing homes/long-term care facilities;
•clinical laboratories; and
•general healthcare providers.

4. Ebola Lab Testing Capacity –NC State Laboratory of Public Health has the capacity to test for Ebola. DPH is working with hospital labs to provide the required special packaging and shipping instructions to safely ship specimens.

5. Coordination/communication with other states and CDC – DPH participates in regular Ebola-related calls and webinars with other states and with CDC to ensure up-to-date and coordinated responses.

6. DPH has a dedicated web page to Ebola for the general public and for healthcare providers ( The page is updated as new information develops. The Ebola web page can be accessed also from the department’s home page (

North Carolina has opened an Ebola Public Information Line at 1-800-222-1222 for people to call with questions or concerns about Ebola. The DHHS Home Page,, lists the information line and links to the Division of Public Health’s Epidemiology Section web page with additional information about hemorrhagic fever (Ebola).

Guarding the public health of Henderson County residents from infectious disease is one of the central roles of the Department of Public Health (DPH). The department regularly prepares for and responds to diseases that could affect residents – such as the Ebola virus disease that has affected many lives on the African continent and is now affecting lives in the United States.

The NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has established standards to respond to reports of infectious diseases and to prevent their transmission. Healthcare providers are required by law to report any cases of illness to DPH that might pose a risk to public health. These include Ebola Virus Disease, MERS-CoV, measles, polio, tuberculosis, pandemic influenza and about 100 other diseases.