EL CENTRO – Because of the recent Ebola scare in the Imperial Valley and one child being infected with the Enterovirus D-68, Dr. Stephen Munday, County Health Officer addressed these issues on Friday at a press conference.
Dr. Munday explained the Public Health Department’s Duty Officer Program and how emergency notifications are handled with local hospitals and the medical community.
“We have a duty officer hotline in effect for doctors, we have it year round, not just for Ebola, so if a doctor sees a weird disease that make them think there is a outbreak, they can call that number 24/7 and that person has all the information on how to contact all the necessary people,” said Munday about the duties of the officer hotline.
A main topic of conversation was the Enterovirus D-68 and the precautions being made to stop an outbreak. Munday went how Enterovirus D-68 is spread and who is most susceptible of catching the disease. “The Enterovirus D-68 is a novel disease, its pretty early on so we do not know the full measure of it, so we are now accurately looking for it, especially with the high levels of people with asthma in the Imperial Valley.”
The California Department of Public Health has identified EV-D68 in 44 patients throughout the state. Nationwide, more than 900 people in 46 states and the District of Columbia were confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 since mid-August, according to their website.
Munday also explained the different ways ebola is transmitted through human transmission. Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with blood or body fluids (including, but not limited to: urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk) of a person who is sick with Ebola, or objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus.
He stated that if ebola did happen to enter into the Imperial County, the Health Department and officals are “prepared to deal with it” and that he really believes it to be important for people to know that until the person becomes sick they are not contagious.
For more information regarding EV-D68 please visit the CDC website at: http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/about/ev-d68.html