Ebola Preparedness and Response
Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has been preparing for a case of Ebola since the start of the outbreak:
- Enhancing surveillance and laboratory testing capacity to detect cases.
- Providing recommendations for hospitals and other health care facilities on infection control and other measures to prevent disease spread.
- Sending out up-to-date information to the public, international travelers, and public health partners. This includes ongoing outreach efforts and public meetings with members of the Twin Cities’ West African communities.
- How We’re Preparing for Ebola in Minnesota (PDF: 43KB/2 pages)
- Minnesota Ebola Community Risk Assessment (PDF: 92KB/2 pages)
Systems for identifying and caring for Ebola patients in Minnesota:
- MDH, local public health, hospitals and clinics have systems in place to identify suspected cases of Ebola.
- In fact, Minnesota has experience with this type of rare disease. In April 2014, an international traveler infected with Lassa fever, another type of viral hemorrhagic fever, arrived in the Twin Cities and was quickly identified, isolated, and treated. There was no additional disease spread from this case.
- A person suspected to have Ebola would be isolated and cared for at a hospital.
- Hospitals in Minnesota and across the U.S. are well equipped to care for a person with Ebola by following normal infection control procedures.
- The University of Minnesota Medical Center has been designated a regional Ebola treatment center.
- Hospital staff routinely follows procedures to prevent infections such as wearing gloves, gowns, masks, and other protective gear when caring for patients so that they don’t come in contact with blood or other body fluids. These same procedures would be very carefully followed if they were caring for a patient with Ebola in the United States.
- MDH would identify all people who may have had contact with the patient, determine who may be at risk, and monitor at risk contacts for 21 days for any signs of symptoms of Ebola.
- Active Traveler Monitoring
During the 2014/2015 West Africa Ebola outbreak MDH had a program in place to monitor travelers identified by the CDC.
- Active Traveler Monitoring
Planning for the near future:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) monitor international infectious diseases and have staff working in countries with Ebola to help control the spread of disease. MDH works closely with these organizations.
- Health care providers continue to follow standard practices so they do not come in contact with blood or body fluids of sick patients. They are also asking sick patients about recent travel to make sure they can rule out Ebola.
- MDH will continue to monitor the current situation in West Africa, work with partners such as CDC, and provide updates to the public and health care providers as needed.