Ohio Activates 24-Hour Call Center for Ebola Questions

What You Need to Know Ebola banner

Although the 2014 Ebola epidemic has increased the possibility of affected patients traveling to the United States from one of the multiple countries in West Africa affected by the outbreak, the likelihood is low unless that person has been in direct contact with someone who is infected with the virus. One imported case from Liberia and associated locally acquired cases in healthcare workers have been reported in the United States. CDC and local partners are taking precautions to prevent the further spread of Ebola within the United States.

Ebola virus disease (EVD), previously known as "Ebola hemorrhagic fever," is one of several viral hemorrhagic fevers. Ebola was first reported in 1976 in the area now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ebola has been diagnosed in the United States, but no cases have been diagnosed in Ohio to date.

The Ohio Department of Health is activating a 24-hour-a-day call center to answer Ohioans’ questions about Ebola and the recent events in Ohio in an effort to ensure Ohioans get accurate, timely information.The number for Ohioans to call is 1-866-800-1404.

Ebola is spread through direct contact with:

  1. The blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola
  2. Objects (like needles) that have been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola
  3. Touching the body of someone who has died from Ebola

Ebola is not spread by air or water. In Africa, Ebola can be spread through the handling of infected wild animals and bats.

Every traveler coming into the United States who has been in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone or Mali in the last 21 days is now being screened for illness by the CDC and U.S. Division of Migration and Quarantine as they arrive. If they are ill they will be kept at that entry point city for Ebola testing. If they are not sick at the time of arrival, they are given a CARE (Check And Report Ebola) kit and are told they are subject to daily monitoring by the local health department where they live or will be for 21 days from the date of their departure from West Africa. 

If any of those travelers live in or will be visiting Ohio, the CDC notifies the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). ODH then notifies the local health department of where the person will be staying. If they live or will be in Franklin County Public Health jurisdiction, they will be monitored for 21 days to assure they do not become ill. 

At a minimum, Franklin County Public Health will talk to them twice per day for temperature and symptom checks. One check will be in person, the other by phone. They are not able to travel commercially and cannot leave the jurisdiction without mutual agreement of the local health department where they plan to go to assure continued daily monitoring.  If it is a health care worker of someone with direct exposure to body fluids of someone diagnosed with Ebola, they will have stricter monitoring and perhaps even a full quarantine if the situation warrants. The Police and Fire/EMS will be notified we are monitoring someone in their jurisdiction.

If any Mifflin Township residents have questions, please see the resources below. You are encouraged to download and share any of the informational pages you find helpful. If you think you have been exposed to Ebola, please call your healthcare provider or your local health department and be prepared to discuss your symptoms and travel history.

Resources:

For the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control, visit the CDC web page or the Columbus Public Health page.