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UPDATE: CDC To Hold Press Conference After Portland Airport Ebola Scare

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


UPDATE: A Center for Disease Control press conference was held at 2:30pm today at Portland State Office Building to discuss how the state of Oregon is approaching Ebola prevention tactics.

Here is an update from the Governor's Office:

"At my direction, state and local public health care systems began to prepare several weeks ago for any suspected cases of Ebola in Oregon. Today, those partners are working together to have a coordinated and appropriate response. I have been briefed by the Oregon Public Health Director and her team and will continue to monitor the situation. I’m now asking state and federal agencies, private health care providers, and hospitals to accelerate preparations to ensure public safety in the event of any new suspected cases." 

Health officials responded to a Ebola scare at Portland International Airport Wednesday morning after a child traveling from Africa vomited on a plane.

The child, who came into the country from Nigeria, threw up on a flight in from Atlanta. Health officials arrived on the scene and deemed the child healthy and free to go, according to Multnomah County.

Local officials speaking at the conference include Paul Cieslak, MD and Paul Lewis, MD, a Health Officer for the Multnomah County Health Department. 

Sources close to GoLocalPDX say that the CDC has been in Portland for the last week training area hospital workers on how to respond to the Ebola crisis.

Here are details from the Oregon Health Authority's news release:

"State public health officials say they are ready to respond in the unlikely event a person ill with Ebola infection arrives in Oregon, but they emphasize that risk of exposure remains low.

To help public health officials monitor for illness and keep it contained, they encourage people to talk to their doctors if they have recently travelled to West Africa.

Katrina Hedberg, M.D., is state health officer at the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division. “We know that Ebola is a very serious illness that is an epidemic in West Africa,” Hedberg said Wednesday. “It can often be deadly, but it’s not highly communicable. It’s spread from person to person, usually from direct contact with body fluids. It’s not airborne.”

Hedberg said she is not surprised the U.S.A. has seen its first case of Ebola.

"“There’s a fair amount of travel that happens between the United States and other countries in the world,” Hedberg said. “We assume that the risk of this in Oregon is very low, but it wouldn’t be unheard of.”

Hedberg and Genevieve Buser, M.D., a physician in the Public Health Division’s Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention Section, attended a press briefing at the Portland State Office Building to provide an update on Oregon’s response to the international Ebola situation.

Hedberg and Buser said Ebola is more difficult to spread than diseases that can be passed through the air, such as measles and tuberculosis. Ebola is only transmitted through direct contact with body fluids of an ill, infected person who has symptoms, by touching either the ill person or a surface recently contaminated by his or her bodily fluids.

“We have posted a Web page that has current information both from CDC and us regarding Ebola response and identification,” Buser said. “Each of these steps has been taken in collaboration with local health departments and our clinicians to best inform them so … we can set in place an appropriate response.”"


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