Wake County commissioners heard from health officials today on the county's readiness should an Ebola case be diagnosed here. The leaders cited several calls of concern they've received from residents after the disease was discovered in a hospital patient in Texas.
Wake County health experts say they are working with hospitals, universities and airport authorities to ensure the earliest warnings are given should a case appear in North Carolina.
Brent Myers is the medical director for Wake County EMS. He says the county's efforts are being replicated across the state.
"The processes that we describe: 911 screenings, treatments, personal protective equipment, the layers of personal protective equipment we want to use are now consistent across the state," says Myers. "That protocol has been issued in all 100 EMS systems in the state have that exact same protocol."
Myers says the state effort to guard against the appearance of Ebola is now reflected in the questions 9-1-1 operators ask about a potential patient.
"Is the patient conscious? Is the patient breathing? Has the patient traveled to Africa in the past 21 days? That filter is there to help keep our folks on a heightened alert were it to happen. We have had a single one of those since that time..and it turned out that they were from the Sudan so they were not in a high-risk area from Africa so we were able to immediately downgrade that response. But it lets us know that the filter is there and the filter is working," Myers said.
Myers stresses that Ebola is not an airborne virus. It can only be spread by direct contact with bodily fluids.