New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper

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City Looks at Ebola Preparedness

The New Britain Health Department has begun coordinating efforts for Ebola response if necessary in the City.

“We started meeting in the beginning of October to plan to assess and coordinate efforts if necessary,” said Sergio Lupo, director of health. “We are prepared and have been prepared for disasters since 9/11.”

Ebola, is a type of hemorrhagic fever, and is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. Ebola viruses are found in several African countries. Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The natural reservoir host of Ebola virus remains unknown. However researchers believe that the virus is animal-borne and that bats are the most likely reservoir.

This month a patient has been found in Texas to be infected with Ebola.

Local health, Emergency Management, EMS, Fire, Police, The Hospital of Central CT, Probate Court, 911 Public Safety Telecommunications Center, CCSU Health Services and Facilities, and the Consolidated School District of New Britain met to discuss a variety of topics. These included Ebola Disease Overview State/Regional Activities, review of what a public health emergency declaration means, review of isolation & quarantine, make an overview of the contact tracing process and make a local protocol review.

“We have protocols in place. We are ready in case something happens,” said Lupo. “We are learning from other situations and ready to take it on. We are doing more than what most states are doing.”

A coordinated exercise with Police, Fire, EMS, The Hospital of Central CT and local health is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 24.

“Drills will tell us how effective we are,” said Lupo. “There is a lot to learn. So far everyone has done a good job.”

The health district says symptoms include fever (greater than 101.5°F), severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and unexplained hemorrhage. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8-10 days.

Transmission is from direct contact with body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola, direct contact with objects contaminated with the virus and direct contact with infected animals.

The CDC reports that the 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa.

If someone in your household shows signs of Ebola the health department advises isolate them in a private room, Call 911 and the New Britain Health Department at 860-826-3000.

More information will be given to the public as it becomes necessary.