State: We’re Prepared For Emerging Diseases

INDIANAPOLIS — State health officials are assuring the public they are ready to respond to health threats such as Ebola and MERS. The announcement comes after the first U.S. Ebola case was confirmed last week in Dallas, Texas.

Ebola is a rare viral disease that can cause serious illness and death. The Indiana State Department of Health said responding to Ebola requires a strong public health system, as well as an excellent system of medical care and hospital infection control practices.

“Keeping Hoosiers safe and healthy is always our top priority,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “Our recent experience with MERS was a good demonstration of a rapid and effective public health response to a new and concerning threat. I’m confident that the systems in place will continue to work to keep Hoosiers safe and protected against any new potential health threat.”

Although a positive case of Ebola has been identified in the U.S., the virus is not circulating at this time.

How Ebola is Spread:

  • People canonly spread Ebola virus when they have symptoms.
  • There is norisk of transmission if someone does not have symptoms.
  • Ebola is only spread through direct contact with blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces, vomit and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola, using needles and syringes that have been contaminated with the virus or contact with infected animals.
  • Ebola is notspread through the air by water or food, or by casual contact.

The Indiana State Department of Health and public health partners have procedures in place to identify travelers at risk of Ebola who seek care at Indiana medical facilities.

State health officials and partners work with healthcare facilities and the CDC to provide testing, infection control and treatment guidance.

All Indiana health care providers are required to report any cases of illness that might pose a risk to public health including Ebola Virus Disease, MERS, measles, rubella, mumps, tuberculosis, pandemic influenza and other diseases.